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Wanted: A Third Generation of Global Governance Research

David Coen, founding Director of the UCL Global Governance Institute (GGI), and I have just published a Commentary in the journal Governance which sets out our initial thoughts on an ambitious new research agenda on global governance. Together with colleagues at UCL and beyond, the GGI is dedicated to advancing a research agenda on global governance which seeks to integrate insights across an theoretically and empirically-rich second generation of scholarship to ground a powerful third generation of global governance scholarship, distinguished by a concern for the complexity and dynamism of global public policy-making and delivery in the 21st century. An extract of the piece follows, the full publication can be viewed here.

Global governance is not working. The rapid development of economic globalization and deepening interdependence of cross-border activity belie the relative absence of governance mechanisms capable of effectively tackling global public policy issues.

From financial regulation to noncommunicable diseases, bio-pathogen containment, and, of course, climate change mitigation, global governance is failing to find solutions. It is imperative that we make progress in understanding blockage and ways through.

A first generation of global governance research, principally in international relations (IR), has focused almost exclusively on formal mechanisms of interstate relations within public multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations and the World Bank.With these structures apparently in gridlock, many observers now regard global governance to be in crisis.

However, a second generation of disparate scholarship spanning IR, European Union Public Policy (EPP) and International Law (IL) has begun to investigate new forms of public and private global governance as a response to the limitations faced by states in tackling pressing transboundary challenges.

IR itself epitomizes this rebellion against old orthodoxies, having decisively shifted away in recent years from international relations to world politics, defined not simply by anarchic system structures, but also by an infrastructure built on liberal principles and the presence of diverse social forces.

We argue here that integration across this theoretically and empirically rich second generation of scholarship can ground a powerful third generation of global governance research, distinguished by a concern for the complexity and dynamism of global public policymaking and delivery in the new century.

The full Commentary can be accessed here:

David Coen and Tom Pegram, ‘Wanted: A Third Generation of Global Governance Research’, Governance, published online: 16 August 2015.

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