Renaissance of the City as Global Actor. The Role of Foreign Policy and International Law Practices in the Construction of Cities as Global Actors

35 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2016 Last revised: 30 Jun 2017

See all articles by Janne Elisabeth Nijman

Janne Elisabeth Nijman

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID); Amsterdam Center for International Law - University of Amsterdam; T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Date Written: February 1, 2016

Abstract

This paper examines the renaissance of the city as a global actor within the context of ‘the relationship between international law, international actorhood, and the political practice of foreign policy’. First, it discusses briefly the city as a global actor from a historical sociological perspective. It goes on to consider three contemporary developments - globalisation, urbanisation, and decentralisation - that impact the position of the city within the international society today. Subsequently, the focus is on how cities are (re)constituted as global actors by making use of the language, norms and practices of foreign policy and international law. In turn, as global actors, cities reconstitute the global society and its ideational, normative structure. A social constructivist approach is used here to explain both constitutive processes. The current urban renaissance challenges traditional state-centrism of the IR/lL theories describing the world. The editors of this volume have posed the research question as to whether we face ‘a moment of foreign policy transformation’; this chapter suggests we do. The renaissance of the city as an independent global actor attests to a more general shift from an international to a global society. Meanwhile, the (re-)constitution of the city as new foreign policy actor shows the persuasive power and constructive role of international legal norms and ideas today.

Keywords: Global city, international law, international relations, social constructivism, historical sociology, globalisation, urbanisation, decentralisation, foreign policy, implementation of international law

JEL Classification: K

Suggested Citation

Nijman, Janne Elisabeth, Renaissance of the City as Global Actor. The Role of Foreign Policy and International Law Practices in the Construction of Cities as Global Actors (February 1, 2016). T.M.C. Asser Institute for International & European Law 2016-02, Forthcoming Chapter to be included in: The Transformation of Foreign Policy: Drawing and Managing Boundaries, ed. by Andreas Fahrmeir, Gunther Hellmann, and Miloš Vec (OUP), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2737805

Janne Elisabeth Nijman (Contact Author)

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2
Geneva, 1202
Switzerland

Amsterdam Center for International Law - University of Amsterdam ( email )

Amsterdam
Netherlands

T.M.C. Asser Instituut ( email )

P.O. Box 30461
2500 GL The Hague, 2517JN
Netherlands

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