A Multidisciplinary Analysis
Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Jan Wouters, Antoon Braekman, Matthias Lievens and Emilie Bécault
Chapter 1: Introduction. Global governance and democracy: invitation to a multidisciplinary dialogue
Since it was first introduced two decades ago by the writings of James Rosenau and the ‘Commission for Global governance’ (Rosenau and Czempiel 1992; Commission on Global Governance 1995), global governance has become a central topic of inquiry for a myriad of political scientists, legal scholars, economists and political philosophers. Spurred by a number of key global developments including the end of the Cold War, the skills revolution, economic globalization and the growing awareness of the dangers posed by some transnational problems, the concept of global governance has emerged as a useful analytical and normative tool for making sense of profound shifts sweeping the international political landscape (Weiss 2000, 796; Barnett and Sikkink 2008, 78; Kersbergen and Waarden 2004, 143). Chief among these shifts is the notion that states should, and can, no longer be regarded as the sole source of regulation at the global level. Increasingly, a wide range of actors – from individuals to local communities, to businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations – are engaged in numerous governing-related activities, structuring and directing the behaviour of interdependent actors and resulting in some relatively novel modes of governance such as public–private partnerships, coalitions of subnational governments, informal groups of like-minded government officials, and private regulatory schemes. But, notwithstanding two decades of vibrant scholarship that spread over numerous literatures and disciplines, one can still observe several unresolved issues with regard to the study of global governance and especially with respect to its implications for thinking about democratic legitimacy.