Global Governance in a Multiplex World

25 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2017

See all articles by Amitav Acharya

Amitav Acharya

American University - School of International Service

Date Written: June 2017


Despite paying attention to a growing number of actors and agents, the literature on global governance remain remarkably traditional and Western-centric. Much of it still revolves around the existing multilateral system created under U.S. hegemony after World War II. In this paper, I propose a new understanding of studying global governance that reflects recent and ongoing global economic and political shifts. To this end, in the place of the traditional conception of a liberal world order within which the mainstream literature on global governance has been anchored, this paper employs the idea of a “Multiplex World”. Unlike the former, the idea of a Multiplex World envisions a more pluralistic and diversified architecture of global governance shaped by a proliferation of transnational challenges, diffusion of new ideas, and expansion of actors and processes that lie at the center of global governance. A Multiplex World better captures the ongoing fragmentation of global governance, which in turn reflects a growing demand for new principles and approaches that cannot be accommodated by a simple extension of the existing but fading international order dominated by the US or the multilateral institutions it created. The concept of global governance, argues this paper, must come to terms with an emerging realities of the Multiplex World.

Keywords: Global Governance, Multiplex World, World Order, Multilateralism, Regional Worlds, Civil Society

Suggested Citation

Acharya, Amitav, Global Governance in a Multiplex World (June 2017). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2017/29, Available at SSRN: or

Amitav Acharya (Contact Author)

American University - School of International Service ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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