A Multidisciplinary Analysis
Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Jan Wouters, Antoon Braekman, Matthias Lievens and Emilie Bécault
‘Global governance’ is an imposing term. It wraps together two huge concepts that are interpreted and defined in various lights, and connects these words to the wider study of an even more daunting concept: globalization. As demonstrated in the preceding chapters, the weight of the phrase ‘global governance’ looms over environmental, economic, human rights and security studies. But as Krahmann (2003, 340) duly notes, in the study of global governance there is a ‘conceptual confusion within and across levels of analysis’. Sifting through literature on the topic, three overarching categories of analysis emerge: the first explores global governance as a heuristic or rhetorical device; the second category hones in on specific characteristics of global governance; and the third set of analyses frames issues in light of a particular global governance system. A vast amount of energy is dedicated to defining ‘global’, ‘governance’ and the phrase ‘global governance’. Efforts in this realm are many, ranging from Finkelstein’s (1995) five-page definition, to Rhodes’s (1996) six-category depiction of governance, to Weiss’s (2000) detailed breakdown of global governance as understood by various international organizations. Scholars making progress with this task identify the surplus of definitions of global governance, often connecting the concept to earlier notions of government, hierarchical government structures and state power. Treib et al. (2007) describe a tendency towards defining (global) governance in terms of politics, polity or policy dimensions, and identify authors promoting and adhering to these definitions.
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