Transnational Public Sphere As Conduit

Although the transnational public sphere is conceived as an entity without boarders, or that at least stretches boarders, Kohler goes on to argue that this type of public sphere is by default dependent on the national sphere (233). The national and international are directly related through a matrix of power. As the transnational public sphere grows, this puts pressure on the national governments sovereignty. A prime example of this is the case of Troy Davis, a Georgian inmate on death row whose status was challenged by Amnesty International. The United States government, which had sent Davis to death row, experienced the pressure from a transnational network, which called into question the states authority to determine the punishments for its criminals.

Thus, the transnational public sphere is an entity that can be appreciated both for its own beauty in addition to its function. Made up of a global civil society whose allegiances have shifted from primarily individual nations and ethnicities to the shared problems of the world, the attitudes fostered by the transnational public sphere allows for the free movement of special interest organizations, which can breach the boarder limitations to accomplish international goals.

But just because theorists like Kholer have suggested that the transnational public sphere exists, one cannot say this with impunity without examining the current trends in globalization. While the competitive factors of economics and war continue to fester. The debate of free trade vs. fair trade, in addition to tariffs and quotas, still exist, despite the existence of the WTO and other organizations.

Terrorist activity, and violence on boarders like those that occurred between Russia and Georgia this summer, continue to occur. On the other hand, more and more intergovernmental organizations are holding meetings and conventions throughout the world that are attended by policymakers and leaders from a variety of states. Indeed, the global nature of presidential campaigns is evidence to the growing global civil society. United States President-elect Barack Obama spent much of his time “campaigning” in other countries, and even had international volunteers on his team. Thus, both the United States and the international public sphere knew the U.S. president choice would affect them and vice versa, so the international community banded together to make a collective majority decision.

Thus, the transnational public sphere has evolved from a world ruled by competition in the form of trade and war just a few decades ago. Now, a common attitude and identification with some of the worlds more global problems have resulted in a transnational public sphere. This public sphere has acted as the conduit for international governmental organizations to make an impact on issues worldwide. These ideas are in consistence with current trends in globalization, which even have international citizens with vested interest in the U.S. election.

Works Cited

Kholer, Martin. “From the National to the Cosmopolitan Public Sphere.” Re-imagining

Political Community: Studies in Cosmopolitan Democracy. Ed. Archibugi,

Daniele, Held David, and Kohler, Martin. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998..


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