Global Actors: Networks, Elites, Institutions
Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press, 2016
iCourts Working Paper Series No. 44
29 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2016 Last revised: 17 May 2017
Date Written: February 11, 2016
Over the past several decades scholars have intensively debated what factors drive globalization. Answers have ranged from the emergence of the information society and the global economy to value-conflicts embedded in different civilizations. A different yet closely related question is who is driving globalization? That is, however, much less studied, even if it is arguably key to making global governance intelligible. A whole list of actors seem to offer possible answers to the question of who are the globalizers? Is it global institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the International Criminal Court (ICC); communities of experts providing technocratic solutions; transnational networks of activists seeking to alter global and national politics by pursuing, for example, environmental or human rights agendas; or is it powerful individuals forming transnational elites taking the fate of the global society in their hands at a safe distance from ordinary politics in places such as Brussels, New York or Davos? In this chapter we address each of these possible answers in terms of global or transnational networks, elites or institutions and provide both outlines and critiques of the major theories representing each approach.
Keywords: global actors, international institutions, transnational elites, transnational power elites, epistemic communities
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