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Published in: Society 4/2022

08-07-2022 | BOOK REVIEW

Michael Zürn, Theory of Global Governance: Authority, Legitimacy and Contestation

Oxford University Press, 2018, 336 pp, ISBN: 978-0198819981

Author: Jan Zielonka

Published in: Society | Issue 4/2022

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In this impressive work, Michael Zürn offers a sophisticated but accessible guide for readers trying to grasp the evolution of global governance in the conflict-ridden world of today. His definition of global governance is straightforward: it is “the exercise of authority across national borders as well as consented norms and rules beyond the nation state” (p. 3). More complex is his explanation of the forces pushing this governance in the opposite direction: deepening and decline. To grasp the meaning of this “complex parallelism of deepening and decline” (p. 3), Zürn invites the reader to focus on authority, legitimacy, and contestation. This exploratory triangle brings us to think about the triangle of “authority, territory and rights,” proposed by Saskia Sassen in a somewhat different context. 1 In both cases, the choice is revealing because the proposed analytical schemes allow to cross disciplinary boundaries in the field of social sciences. …
Saskia Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages, (Princeton University Press, 2006).
Manuel Castells, The Internet Galaxy. Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 2.
Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, “Power and Purpose in Transgovernmental Networks. Insights from the Global Non-Proliferation Regime”, in The New Power Politics: networks and transnational security governance, Deborah Avant and Oliver Westerwinter, eds, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 131–167.
Jeremy Richardson, ed., European Union Power and Policy Making, (London: Routledge, 2001), pp. 12–15.
Debra Straussfogel, and Caroline von Schilling, “Systems Theory”, in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, (Elsevier Science, 2009), pp. 151–158.
Jan Zielonka, Europe as Empire. The Nature of the Enlarged European Union, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). The neo-medieval paradigm has also been used in the study of global politics. See Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics, (London: Macmillan, 1977) or Neo-Medieval Times - Parag Khanna
For typologies of empires see, e.g., S.N. Eisenstadt, Political Systems of Empires, (New York: Free Press, 1963), pp. 10–12; Alexander J. Motyl, Imperial Ends. The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), pp. 18–20; or Alejandro Colas, Empire, (Polity: Cambridge, 2007), pp. 3–26.
Niall Ferguson, Colossus. The Price of America’s Empire, (New York: Allen Lane, 2004); Charles S. Maier, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and its Predecessors, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006); Amy Chua, Days of Empire. How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance and Why they Fall, (New York: Doubleday, 2007); Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism, (London: Vintage, 1993).
For notable exceptions see, e.g., Michael Cox, “The Empire’s Back in Town: or America’s Imperial Temptation Again,” Millennium, 32 (2003), p. 19. Also: Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey, “Retrieving the Imperial: Empire and International Relations,” Millennium, 31 (2002), pp. 109–27.
Michael Zürn, Theory of Global Governance: Authority, Legitimacy and Contestation
Oxford University Press, 2018, 336 pp, ISBN: 978-0198819981
Jan Zielonka
Publication date
Springer US
Published in
Society / Issue 4/2022
Print ISSN: 0147-2011
Electronic ISSN: 1936-4725