Social Movement Organizations, Epistemic Communities or a “Third Sector”? the Divergent Roles of Indian Civil Society Organizations in Policy Networks of Climate Change

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:20
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Pradip SWARNAKAR, ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, India
Tuomas YLA-ANTTILA, University of Helsinki, Finland
Three distinct literatures have discussed a purported increase in the involvement of civil society organizations in political contention, policymaking and implementation. Social movement scholars discuss the emergence of a “social movement society”, where contentious political participation through social movement organizations is becoming the norm rather than the exception. The literature on “epistemic communities”, on the other hand, argues that increasingly specialized civil society organizations take part in policymaking alongside scientific experts and government bodies. The literature on the “third sector”, in turn, sees civil society organizations as ever more important actors in implementing policy, alongside the government and business sectors of society. Using data from a network survey and qualitative interviews, we find that civil society organizations in India that work on climate change are engaged in all three kinds of activities discussed above. Some challenge the government’s positions through social movement actions, others are engaged in epistemic communities drafting the very documents that lay out what those positions are, while yet others are implementing third sector projects particularly related to climate change adaptation by poor communities. We investigate to which extent these three types of organizations have network ties to government bodies, international organizations and each other, and to what extent can the same organizations sometimes take on all three roles to varying degrees.