Who governs the globe?

Author/s (editor/s):

Suan K. Sell

Publication year:


Publication type:

Book chapter

This chapter presents a brief overview of the development of global governance literature and examines the actors, their activities, their bases of authority, and their relationships with each other. It addresses the relationships between the governors and the governed and some of the relevant challenges for accountability, representation, and legitimacy. Scholars began to look more deeply into who governs the globe and began to analyze the agency of global governors: Global governors are authorities who exercise power across borders for purposes of affecting policy. The inherent tension between independence of action required for governors to be effective in governance tasks, and the accountability required to limit their power poses another set of dilemmas. Global governance raises particular challenges for accountability, representation and legitimacy. Notions of legitimacy are bound to change as the governed experience the big societal footprint in unexpected or unintended ways. The chapter concludes with suggestions for further research and development of the ideas presented.

Cite the publication as

“Who Governs the Globe?” in Thomas Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson, eds. International Organization and Global Governance, 2nd ed, (Routledge,Abingdon, UK: 2018).

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