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  • Cited by 6
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

13 - Conclusion: authority, legitimacy, and accountability in global politics


Asking questions about who actually does the governing we see in contemporary politics has led us through some rocky terrain, analytically. It required us to define what global governors are (“authorities who exercise power across borders for the purpose of affecting policy”). This, in turn, raised questions about the sources of these authorities and how they change over time. It has also forced us to rethink many of our initial assumptions. When we began this project, we expected to focus on different forms of governors – NGOs, IOs, corporations, even states. These standard categories produced far fewer regularities than we expected. Over the course of our research we became convinced that the key to understanding these governors lay not in their form but in their relationships. Governors' relationships with constituencies and with one another shape how and whether governors become authorities in the first place and how they affect governing outcomes.

Our hope is that these chapters are only the beginning of research on global governors. The framework we developed suggests a research agenda for global politics that has analytical implications for our understanding of multiple authorities in global politics. It has implications for our assessment of the normative value of different arrangements and it has implications for international relations theory. We outline these, in turn, below.

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