Emergent Entrepreneurs in Transnational Advocacy Networks: Professional Mobilization in the Fight for Global Tax Justice

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GR:EEN Working Paper Series
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To advocate new transnational policy ideas, issue entrepreneurs must be able to switch identities to bolster their influence in different professional and policy networks. This paper provides a framework for understanding how issue entrepreneurs operate in transnational advocacy networks through ‘identity switching’ and professional mobilization. We describe how issue entrepreneurs switch identities between different professional ‘network domains’, and how identity switching is critical for accessing and activating advocacy strategies on technically complex issues. We demonstrate the power of the above concepts by examining the emergence of issue entrepreneurs working on global tax justice, particularly those organizing via a key group addressing global tax policy reform, the Tax Justice Network. We discuss how this group uses identity switching as an explicit strategy for professional mobilization in pushing forward the global tax justice agenda. Our evidence suggests that strategies supported by identity switching are vital for the emergence of technically complex justice issues. We also argue that studies of transnational advocacy networks require greater focus on modes of organizing rather than forms of organization in understanding issue emergence.