There are forces in the world which work, not in an arithmetical, but in a geometrical ratio of increase. Education, to use the expression of Plato, moves like a wheel with an ever multiplying rapidity. Nor can we say how great may be its influence, when it becomes universal.
Nonstate-oriented politics is nothing new. Since the dawn of social life, human beings have worked to shape and direct collective affairs independent of formal government. In recent years, however, scholars have begun thinking theoretically about this type of activity and, in so doing, have provided a degree of conceptual clarity to it. In particular, the contributions of social movement theory, post-structuralism, feminism, and critical thought have broadened understandings of power and thus have heightened our sensitivity to how politics takes place in the home, office, and marketplace, as well as in the halls of congresses and parliaments. Politics, in this sense, is much more subtle to notice than the conduct of governments but, according to proponents of these orientations, no less significant for political affairs.
It is with a more comprehensive notion of power that I wish to begin investigating the ways in which transnational environmental groups engage in world civic politics. By suspending judgment about what constitutes real politics, one can focus on diverse forms of agency that actually shape world environmental affairs. ...