The Postnational Constellation: A Broad Conception of Democracy

  • Dorothea BaurEmail author
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 36)


This chapter is dedicated to sketching out the postnational constellation which describes the circumstances of political action that happens beyond the nation state. By acknowledging the emergence of NGOs and multinational corporations as new political actors on a global scale, the postnational constellation provides the grounds for conceptualizing the interaction between these actors as a political interaction. NGOs assume a broad range of democratic roles and they do so in contexts with different degrees of institutionalization: in formal contexts, i.e. by collaborating with international organizations; in semi-institutionalized contexts, i.e. by participating in multi-stakeholder forums or councils; and in essentially unregulated contexts, i.e. in their spontaneous interaction with corporations. The latter type of interaction is identified as the point of reference for this book. Since this type of interaction happens without the involvement of any official political institution, i.e. exclusively in the extraconstitutional sphere, it poses particular challenges when conceptualizing it from a political-theoretical perspective.


Postnational constellation Sphere of political action Democratic role of NGOs Contexts of NGO action Extraconstitutional sphere 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of St. Gallen, Institute for Business EthicsSt. GallenSwitzerland

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