9th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Mulieri

Alessandro Mulieri

Global Governance: Two Concepts in Search of a Theory

In  recent years,  cross-­‐disciplinary  research  has  grown,  interdisciplinary  programs  have flourished and  more  and  more  political  theorists  are  dealing  with  the  idea of  global governance.  The  paper  presents a critical  view  of  this  concept and  reviews  the  general debate on  it  paying  particular  attention  to  the  link  between  governance  and  democratic theory.  In the first part,   the idea of  global  governance  is  deconstruct on  two  levels.  First, it is  shown  the controversial  meaning  of  the  term  ‘global’.  The  interpretation  of  this concept depends  on different stands about the  nature  of  the  global  scene.  Second, it  is shown that  the  explanatory power  of  the idea of  “global”  is  conditional  upon  the  rapid historical and  geopolitical  changes that are  occurring  in  the  global context in  which  we live.  The unstable  patterns  that characterize  the current  international arena – the  rise  of new powerful  economies  like  China, India or  Brazil,  the  objective  loss  of  power  of  the West, the  instability  patterns that we observe  in  Africa,  South-­‐America and  some  parts  of Asia, all these  things  contribute  to  make one  suspicious  of  any  attempt to  define a precise descriptive  structure  of  the  global  scene.  In the  second  part,  the  analysis  is  devoted  to the  notion  of  governance  as  such.  Drawing  on  the complex  difference  between governance  and  government, it is first argued that government and governance  mechanisms are  closely  intertwined  in a  variety  of  different cases at the international level  and  then proposed a shift from  governance  to  governance(s)  for  future  scholarship. Theoretically speaking, it is  argued, it appears  more  useful  to  focus  on  particular  forms  of governances, for  example  corporate  international  governance,  EU  governance,  health governance  trying to  avoid  the  usage  of  the  word  ‘global’  with  its  very  ambiguous meaning.