Call for papers for TNI's State of Power report

22 September 2014

Transnational Institute  (TNI) is issuing an open call for essays/short papers for its forthcoming State of Power report launched in late January 2015 to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos.


TNI’s annual State of Power reports have, since their launch in 2012, become a must-see reference point for citizens, activists and academics concerned with understanding the nature of power in our globalised world. With a mixture of compelling infographics and insightful essays, State of Power has examined dimensions of power (economic, political, cultural, social), exposed the key players who control power, and highlighted movements of counter-power seeking to transform our world.

Understanding power

In 2014/2015, TNI is opening up the call to the public, particularly the progressive academic community, in order to pull in the best analysis on power. TNI is keen to interrogate how power is defined, distributed and functions in our globalised world; to expose the often invisible bodies, corporations and others who exercise influence and control over public policy; to understand the mechanisms by which power is both acquired acquired, used, manipulated and maintained; to understand shifts in power, even amongst elites, that provide openings for social movements; and to highlight the growing sources of counter-power, their potential and contradictions, and how they might be supported in advancing social and environmental justice.

TNI is particularly interested in essays that relate to areas we most closely work on such as corporate impunity, trade and investment policies, land and agrarian issues, resource grabbing, public services, security and civil liberties, social movements and counter-power (see However we are ultimately interested in the best analysis (whatever the topic) if it approaches power from the critical perspective held by movements engaged in the struggle for social and environmental justice and political transformation.

For an idea of the kind of essays we are interested in, please read the essays featured in State of Power 2014:

As timing is tight, TNI is happy to publish reworked versions of previously published material as well as new unpublished essays.

The call is an open one, but TNI has designed a process to feature what we consider the top eight best essays in the main report. The decision on which papers are featured will be decided by an Editorial Panel made up of the current TNI Fellows, the Director and the Communications Manager. The selection process will follow three stages:

1. In the first stage, researchers will be asked to provide abstracts and a short bio. These can be abstracts based on existing papers.
2. Those whose abstracts are chosen will be asked to submit an essay. The top eight essays will be selected for the book by the Editorial Panel
3. The top eight essays will go through a final round of revisions based on feedback by the Editorial Panel, and subject to final copyedit. We hope to feature one essay as an infographic. Essays that do not make the top eight – and are considered good essays by the Editorial Panel - will be available as downloadable PDFs linked from the main report.

Instructions for submission

Abstracts must be emailed to by 31 October 2014. Final essays will be due on 1 December 2014.

  • Abstracts/essays must address the issue of power from a critical perspective, seeking to provide useful knowledge and analysis for movements engaged in the struggle for social and environmental justice
  • Abstracts/essays can be based on  reworked versions of existing or previously published essays/papers
  • TNI particularly welcomes submissions by young scholars and people based in the Global South. Due to resource constraints though, at this point, we can only accept essays in English and can not pay for submissions.
  • Abstracts must be a maximum of 1000 words. They do not need to be of continuous prose but must capture the main arguments of the essay and can be expanded outlines. Bios should be 200 words.
  • Essay length: 5000 words. Shorter essays are acceptable, but not longer than 5000 words.
  • Style: TNI has five basic criteria for its research and publications that will also be used to assess the abstracts and essays:
    - Credible: Well researched and evidence-based
    - Accessible: Readable by a broad non-specialist audience (in other words please avoid too much academic jargon)
    - Additional: Adds depth, new insights or detail to existing knowledge/research
    - Radical:  Tackles the structural roots of critical issues
    - Propositional: Does not just critique, but also where relevant puts forward just alternatives
  • Provide bibliography at end of essay and/or provide endnotes for references, preferably in APA style. Please do not overdo it on the endnotes – use it mainly for referring to facts/evidence that may be surprising, questioned or challenged.
  • Please send as .doc file (not .docx)
  • The decision of the Editorial Panel is final. If your abstract or essay is chosen for the book, please be ready to respond to peer reviews and copyediting comments based on the timeline below.


September        Call for abstracts/papers
31 October        Deadline for submission of essays
5 November      Notification of chosen abstracts for final essays
1 December      Submission of essays
5 December      Notification of chosen essays
10 December    Comments sent to authors
2 January        Final version submitted by author
9 January        Copyedits sent to author for final check/revision
19 January       Launch