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Transnational Field and Frames: Organizations in Ecuador and the US

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change

ISBN: 978-1-78560-359-4, eISBN: 978-1-78560-358-7

ISSN: 0163-786X

Publication date: 1 September 2015


Adopting a two-sited approach, this paper examines frames deployed by a network of organizations by developing the concept of the transnational field. The transnational field is the geo-specific field within which the movement organizations are encompassed which can explain the differential power across ties in a transnational network. It enables analyzing whether frames at the local and transnational level are similar, remain as is or are altered within a field which is mediated by the power dynamics embedded in the political-economic-cultural relationships between countries. Using qualitative data, this study of ties between movement organizations in the Amazonian region of Ecuador (local level) and organizations in the United States (transnational level) provides evidence for empirical and narrative fidelity of frames at both ends of the network. The two-sited approach enriches the understanding of resistance to globalization by prioritizing the perspective of indigenous peoples in the Global South highlighting the North–South power dynamic. Departing from common assumptions about the power of US-based groups in the choice of frames deployed, the analysis show that ties between organizations in a transnational network are complex as they rely on each other for resources and information. We discuss the conditions under which local frames are deployed or redefined at the transnational level.




We thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions. We are grateful to the organizations and leaders/key informants for providing access to their activities and reflections on their work. We also acknowledge Robert Perrucci and Tom Shriver for their comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this paper. This project was made possible through a 2007 NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant (0727979).


Williford, B. and Subramaniam, M. (2015), "Transnational Field and Frames: Organizations in Ecuador and the US", Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 38), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-67.



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