Power Shifts and Global Governance: Challenges from South and North

Power Shifts and Global Governance: Challenges from South and North


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Power Shifts and Global Governance: Challenges from South and North’ presents an eclectic theoretical framework for emerging architectures of global governance through examining country and regional case studies from the perspective of 'great power shifts' in the twenty-first century. The book analytically and empirically explores the role of global civil society, discusses the implications of the rise of India and China, analyses regional security issues in Latin America and the Middle East and develops proposals for possible summit and UN reforms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781843318347
Publisher: Anthem Press
Publication date: 01/01/2011
Series: Anthem Politics and International Relations Series
Edition description: First
Pages: 378
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Ashwani Kumar is Associate Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He is also the author of ‘Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar’ (Anthem Press 2008).

Dirk Messner is Director of the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn and Professor of Political Science at the University Duisburg-Essen. He is also a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).

Read an Excerpt

Power Shifts and Global Governance

Challenges from South and North

By Ashwani Kumar, Dirk Messner

Wimbledon Publishing Company

Copyright © 2011 Ashwani Kumar
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84331-834-7



Ashwani Kumar and Dirk Messner

The origins of this book lie in the workshop of the Global Governance Research Network at the German Development Institute (DIE) in January 2007. The workshop expectedly brought together a brilliant, energetic and diverse group of senior scholars, policy makers and researchers from north and south setting forth a fruitful and productive process of introspection and reflection on emerging architectures of global governance. Encouraged by the instant consensus around some of the core ideas of the Global Governance Network, we immediately formulated a publishing project that understandably promised not only to examine 'major power shifts', but also broadened its net to include emerging powers and also 'global civil society actors' whom James Rosenau provocatively called 'sovereignty free actors' as major constituencies of the new global order (Rosenau 1990). As the world has become increasingly more globalized, more complex and also more vulnerable at this point of time, we undertake the task of comprehending and exploring political, economic, social and environmental processes of power shifts and prospects of deliberative democracy on a global scale. There is no doubt that global capitalism has come to witness one of the darkest and gloomiest periods in recent world history. Underlying this existential crisis is a deeper structural, political and moral crisis in the existing structures of global governance. Undoubtedly, the days of "casino capitalism" and "single superpower" are over as the world is keenly waiting for what Karl Polanyi would have called another 'great transformation'. (Polanyi 1957) Simple Keynesian solutions perhaps would neither sustain "liberalism" nor "capitalism" in the midst of violent social eruptions and gradual disintegration of the globalization that runs the risk of robbing individuals, groups and nations of their freedom, creativity and human potentialities. Therefore, as political theorist and civil society activist Mary Kaldor argues 'the new Keynes has to be a Neo-Schumpeterian. Neo-Schumpeterianism is both supply side and demand side; it is about matching the social and institutional framework to the techno-economic paradigm' (Kaldor2008). In other words, the inventive, innovative 'new deal' has not only to establish a deeply inclusive system of global governance, but also needs to eradicate global poverty and arrest the increasing catastrophe of environmental disasters. In short, global governance in the present century is fundamentally an audacious political act of re-imagining and re-inventing the existing structures, institutions and norms of global political, economic and ethical order.

Animated by theoretical eclecticism and methodological diversity, the book, thus, does not intend to advance any partisan approach or a new model of understanding global governance. Guided by 'practical reason', it actually attempts to begin a reflexive conversation and seeks to raise more questionsthan it answers; how do we confront a new world order where traditional boundaries, identities and practices have been altered beyond recognition? How do we contextualize newer forms of governance in the face of globalization? What are the consequences of the rise of new transnational powers for the emerging architecture of global governance? What kind of proposals can be formulated which ensure greater partnership between north and south? Do non- state actors or more particularly, civil society actors, matter in the governance? How do we create a new 'new deal' to address the issues of poverty, climate change and human security at the global level? Is there any realistic hope for institutionalizing cosmopolitan democracy at the global level?

Global Governance: From International Cooperation to Post-National Governance

Therefore it is important that we begin the book with an elaboration on global governance both as an idea and also as a practice. According to Nikolas Rose, governance means cutting 'experiences in certain ways, to distribute attractions and repulsions, passions, and fears across it, to bring new facets and forces, new intensities and relation into being'(Rose 1999, 26). At the core of governance lies conception of 'embedded self' and self-government in the contemporary global order.

Therefore, governance as an idea refers to processes of multiple levels of 'governing without government' in which the nation-state is reconciled with only playing a strategic, instrumental role with different layers of autonomous political authority and legitimacy. Following this generic understanding of governance, we recognise the specific historical contingencies, shifts and moments that have produced the varying and conflicting discourses on the evolving nature of global governance. For instance, contemporary global governances processes cannot be detached from the transformatory forces released by the domino effects of the dramatic collapse of the Soviet Union, the discovery of civil society, the globalization of capital and the revolutions in information technology in the 1990s. Looking at the rapidly changing political developments in the global order in recent times, we can assuredly begin arguing that unlike the traditional international system of sovereign nation-states, the emerging architecture of global governance have fervently sought to frame newer supranational laws, regulations and institutions whose authority reaches beyond conventional borders. There is no denying that nation-states continue to exist, national sovereignty still matters and governments manage to populate the foci of power in the global order, yet there is no doubt that the 'Westphalia Order' has collapsed beyond repair and 'embedded liberalism' is in danger of being replaced by the fury of global economic meltdown. The new global order is undoubtedly more plural, diffused, vocal and tumultuous. It is increasingly being organized by newer norms of interdependence and cooperation that involve myriad United Nations (UN) conventions, especially on trade, development and human rights; supranational institutions like the European Union (EU); and non-government organizations (NGOs); and also social movements at the grassroots. Liberals and radicals bitterly contest the forms and content of governance, but they generally agree that there are global problems such as global poverty, climate warming, trade disputes, financial meltdown and terrorism; diseases such as HIV/AIDS; human rights violations that cannot be solved within the framework of nation-state. In other words, many scholars have come to recognize the emergence of a 'transnational social and political space of participation' and also discover what David Held calls 'a system of overlapping authority and divided loyalties'. ( Held;1995, p. 97) Challenging the practice of locating democracy within a particular nation-state, Held persuasively argues that 'in a world where transnational actors and forces cut across the boundaries of national communities in diverse ways, and where powerful states make decisions not just for their peoples but for others as well, the questions of who should be accountable to whom, and on what basis, do not easily resolve themselves. Overlapping spheres of influence, interference and interest create dilemmas at the centre of democratic thought'(Held 1998, 17–29).

In this background of a rapidly evolving complex interconnected world powered by 'new economy', cosmopolitan democratic theory has emerged as a novel way of addressing the issue of broadening popular sovereignty and democratic legitimacy beyond the nation-state. In this framework of governance, nation-states do not necessarily have to vanish, but only need to subject their regional, national and local sovereignties to a democratically negotiated cosmopolitan legal framework while retaining their freedom of self-governance at diverse levels. This resembles what Jurgen Habermas calls 'postnational constellation' (Habermas 2001). Noting the increasing appeal of cosmopolitan trends in contemporary democratic political theory, Paul Wapner writes

Ever since the Stoics imagined a single world, organized by a set of common principles, thinkers and practitioners have worked to conceptualise and bring into reality mechanisms to coordinate the diverse activities of a complex, multifarious world. For some, this project meant establishing a world government to legislate common laws and policies. For others, it meant simply building institutions of common understanding and practices supported by sovereign entities below the level of world government. (Wapner 1997, 82)

Alongside cosmopolitans, multiculturalists, republicans and post-structuralists have also empathised the need for transnational governance and reconfiguring collective identities beyond the conventional borders (Connolly 1995; Eschle and Maiguashca 2005; Walker 1993). Therefore, global governance is indeed a 'postnational' political project that has challenged the capacity of the social sciences especially in conventional international relations (IR) theories and also sparked the imaginations of civil society activists to generate new theoretical insights and practical tools to explain contemporary transformations in the global order. With the world moving away from political realism to newer forms of collective 'communicative rationality', it has now become increasingly clear that new forms of global processes of change can no longer be understood with a single source of authority, legitimacy and agency. The world is now more plural, differentiated, democratic and also inclusive than we would have imagined a decade ago. Noting the emerging contours of global order, the Commission on Global Governance in the 1995 report 'Our Global Neighbour-hood: The Report of the Commission on Global Governance' insightfully pointed out

Governance is the sum of the many ways individual and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflict or diverse interests may be accommodated and cooperative action may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interest ... At the global level, governance has been viewed primarily as intergovernmental relationships, but it must now be understood as also involving non-governmental organizations (NGOs), citizens' movements, multinational corporations and the global capital market. Interacting with these are global mass media of dramatically enlarged influence.

The appreciation of newer global challenges in the 1990s has dramatically changed the theoretical and analytical landscapes of IR theories promoting a vigorous debate between proponents of internationalism and protagonists of global governance. Reflecting on momentous changes in the world politics since the end of cold war, John Ruggie argues

Simply put, postwar institutions, including the United Nations, were built for an inter-national world, but we have entered a global world. International institutions were designed to reduce external frictions between states; our challenge today is to devise more inclusive forms of global governance [italics in the original]. (Plattner 2007, 118)

Global Governance: Discourses and Practices

The words 'global' and 'governance' have become buzzwords in international relations, international political economy and comparative politics during the last two decades. In practice, it has come to refer many things. Reflecting on the chaotic universe of governance, Lawrence Finkelstein blurted out that 'we say governance because we don't really know what to call what is going on' (Finkelstein 1995, 3:338). In fact, it has become a fuzzy and contested concept with deceptive content. There is no doubt that the fuzziness of the concept can be attributed to its newness and also a lack of general agreement on the boundaries of the concept. Scholars and policy makers have still been struggling to identify normative, descriptive and political components of global governance. Trained in conventional IR theories, many scholars continue to work with familiar nineteenth-century notions of the nation state (Brown2000). IR experts often dwell on the emergence of a world government, but many explain it in term of continuing global dominance of US power (Meyer, Boli and Ramirez 1997). Global governance is also a contested concept because its usage varies according to conflicting political practices and choices of the analysts and policy makers. Support for global governance in reality often depends upon the structural locations of the participants in the new global order. In advanced western countries, global governance is seen as a kind of reinvention of political laissez-faire, the political equivalent of neo-liberalism. It has also become associated with hegemonic structures of economic globalization of the market. This view has found deep resonance in poor southern countries that resist the regressive globalizing forces and argue for consolidating the national state as the site of generating counter hegemonic forces. Advocating the need to resist the forces of 'monopoly-liberal world order', neo-Gramscians such as Robert Cox argue that 'the national context remains the only place where an historic bloc can be founded, although world-economy and world –political conditions materially influence the prospects for such an enterprise' (Cox 1999, 25:1). In other words, global governance is viewed as hegemonic effects of liberalization, privatization and the globalization of capital by many in the developing countries where vast majorities of the people still live in poverty, environment degradation and the worst forms of violence. Interestingly, despite their theoretical, ideological and rhetorical differences, neoliberals and critical theorists share their belief in what some scholars call 'methodological nationalism'. Interestingly, conventional IR theories still maintain formal separation between 'national' and 'international', 'domestic' and 'foreign' and 'insider and outsider' at a time when politics and society are being increasingly de-bounded and de-spatialized. National societies and economies continue to frame the debates on globalized economy ignoring independent influences of multinational corporations, international organizations, international non-governmental organizations and parallel submits. It is this widely held belief in the dominance of the supremacy of 'nation' as the fundamental unit of social science analysis that has complicated the nature of global governance. Arguing for a methodological shift from the nationalist perspective to cosmopolitan perspective, Ulrich Beck writes

Methodological nationalism equates societies with nation-states societies and sees states and their governments as the cornerstones of social science analysis. It assumes that humanity is naturally divided into a limited number of nations which organise themselves internally as nation-states and set external boundaries to distinguish themselves from other nation-states. It goes even further: this outer delimitation as well as the competition between nation-states represents the most fundamental category of political organisation. Much social science assumes the coincidence of social boundaries with state boundaries, thus presupposing that social action occurs primarily. (Beck 2003, 45–6)


Excerpted from Power Shifts and Global Governance by Ashwani Kumar, Dirk Messner. Copyright © 2011 Ashwani Kumar. Excerpted by permission of Wimbledon Publishing Company.
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Table of Contents

Foreword; Introduction; Four Lessons from the Present Global Financial Crisis for the 21st Century; Global Civil Society; Institutional and Policy Implications of International Public Goods; Economic Challenges for Global Governance; The Rule of Law in Multilateral Institutions and International Aid for Development; Global Power Shifts and South Africa's Southern Agenda; Mexico as an Emerging Power in the Present World Scenario; Trilateral Relations among Africa, China and Europe; South America and US Relations; The Future Developments in Global Governance; Managing Social Issues for Sustainable Development; Unity in Diversity; In the Foggy Middle East; Evaluation Capacity Development in the Arab Region; UNEP Institutional Reform with its Impact on Developing Countries; The Heiligendamm Process and Emerging Powers; Notes

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

'This book goes beyond simple claims that globalization is about westernizing the world to show how countries that have not been international powerhouses nonetheless are able to use globalization to define a larger international role for themselves.' —Robert Henry Cox, Professor, School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and co-editor of the journal 'Governance'

'Offers an innovative blend of conceptual insight and policy proposals. Ambitiously crafted, this book points towards a world that the editors argue convincingly is more possible than commonly contemplated.' —Andrew F. Cooper, Associate Director and Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada

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