Paradoxes and asymmetries of transnational networks: a comparative case study of Mexico's community-based AIDS organizations

Soc Sci Med. 2008 Feb;66(4):933-44. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.014. Epub 2007 Dec 26.


This article examines whether transnational networks reconfigure state-civil society relationships in ways that lead to civil society empowerment and increased organizational capacity to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Mexico. Using a comparative case study, I identify the types of transnational networks and exchanges that both help and hinder community-based HIV/AIDS organizations (CBOs) that provide AIDS prevention and treatment services in Tijuana and Mexico City. Data derive from over 50 formal interviews, organizational documents and archival records, and observation. I argue that the form and function of transnational networks is shaped by the geo-political context of local organizational fields and that, in turn, transnational networks provide innovative opportunities for civil society-state partnerships that favor some local organizations over others. Ultimately, I take apart the prevailing assumption that transnational networks are inherently good, and show how they can (re)produce inter-organizational stratification at the local level. The conclusions of this research are helpful to international health practitioners and social scientists seeking to understand how civil society's participation in transnational networks can both challenge and reproduce existing community-state power regimes and health inequities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Communication
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Networks / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • International Cooperation*
  • Mexico
  • Organizational Case Studies