Global Governance and Democracy

Global Governance and Democracy

A Multidisciplinary Analysis

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Jan Wouters, Antoon Braekman, Matthias Lievens and Emilie Bécault

Globalization needs effective global governance. The important question of whether this governance can also become democratic is, however, the subject of a political and academic debate that began only recently. This multidisciplinary book aims to move this conversation forward by drawing insights from international relations, political theory, international law and international political economy. Focusing on global environmental, economic, security and human rights governance, it sheds new light on the democratic deficit of existing global governance structures, and proposes a number of tools to overcome it.

Chapter 10: Democratic legitimacy and global governance: a research agenda

Matthias Lievens, Emilie Bécault, Antoon Braeckman and Jan Wouters

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, law - academic, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, political economy, regulation and governance


If establishing an effective global governance system is a tremendously difficult task, making it also democratic appears almost a Herculean endeavour. Yet, it is a task that we cannot put aside as being impossible or irrelevant. We cannot afford the luxury of confining democracy to the domestic realm, assuming that democratization beyond the nation-state is a hopeless endeavour. If global governance arrangements are unaccountable, unrepresentative or incontestable, they threaten to undermine the very democratic nature of both our national and global societies. One of the obstacles to developing a paradigm for democratic global governance is the scattered nature of existing research on (global) democracy and global governance. The principal aim of this book was to contribute to overcoming this state of affairs by bringing together insights taken from distinct disciplines and issue areas of global governance. In this perspective, its main objectives were, first, to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of how global governance as an empirical phenomenon actually varies across thematic fields; and second, to bridge the gap between the study of actually existing global governance arrangements on the one hand, and norms of democratic legitimacy on the other.

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