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Squaring the Circle? Reconciling Sovereignty and Global Governance Through Global Government Networks (Review of Anne-Marie Slaughter, a New World Order)


Kenneth Anderson


American University - Washington College of Law; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; Brookings Institution - Governance Studies


Harvard Law Review, Vol. 118, pp. 1255-1312, January 2005

Abstract:     
Anne-Marie Slaughter's widely noticed book, A New World Order (Princeton UP 2004), proposes that the emerging form of global governance is neither a world government nor global governance by partnerships of public international organizations and global civil society, yet neither is it the existing relationship of sovereign states. Slaughter's concern is to resolve the governance dilemma of global governance, which is in essence that while we collectively recognize the advantages of global government, we also fear its anti-democratic and unaccountable concentration of power. A form of global governance is emerging, she argues, which can resolve this dilemma in the form of global government networks - networks of national agencies (and courts) working with their counterparts and homologues worldwide to deal with a wide variety of global concerns. Fundamental to this conception of global government is Slaughter's view that the unitary state is becoming disaggregated into its constituent parts, which increasingly act on their own account in the wider global environment. This (lengthy) book review summarizes and critiques A New World Order, offering both an internal critique of the argument's consistency as well as an outside critique of the argument from the standpoint of the value of democratic sovereignty. The review locates Slaughter's argument within the debate over international relations realism and idealism, and further locates it within a continuum of seven idealized positions in the debate between global governance and sovereignty, with pure sovereignty at one extreme and world government at the other, with the most relevant positions of democratic sovereignty and liberal internationalism located in the middle. The article concludes that Slaughter's vision of global governance through global government networks, ingenious as it is, does not finally avoid spitting us on at least one horn of the global governance dilemma, because ultimately it privileges global networks over democratic sovereignty.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 58

Keywords: International law, global governance, democracy, sovereignty, democratic sovereignty, European Union, administrative law, international organizations, global civil society, nongovernmental organizations, NGO, NGOs, liberal internationalism, Anne-Marie Slaughter, transjudicialism

JEL Classification: K23, K33, L30, L31, L33

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Date posted: February 27, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Kenneth, Squaring the Circle? Reconciling Sovereignty and Global Governance Through Global Government Networks (Review of Anne-Marie Slaughter, a New World Order). Harvard Law Review, Vol. 118, pp. 1255-1312, January 2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=669842

Contact Information

Kenneth Anderson (Contact Author)
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
Brookings Institution - Governance Studies
1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
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