From International Relations to Global Governance Theory: Conceptualizing NGOs after the Rio Breakthrough of 1992
Journal of Civil Society, Vol. 3, No. 1, 81-99, June 2007
Posted: 26 Jan 2014
Date Written: June 1, 2007
This essay systematizes the ontology of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the processes of their inclusion in world politics. It tracks conceptualizations of NGOs, their integration into IR theory, and the resultant move toward global governance (GG) theory. First, I provide an interdisciplinary ontological evolution of NGOs in international relations (IR): as international interest groups, then transnational social movement organizations, then transnational advocacy networks, and most recently as global civil society. All stress different features of NGO activism, but none have successfully replaced the term ‘NGO.’ Second, this new ontology requires a new process for participation in world politics — GG. GG theory expands on IR theory to include NGOs in multi-actor, issue-driven relationships.
Keywords: NGO, Civil Society, Rio Conference, Global Governance
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