The Limits of Global Governance: Transnational Neopluralism in a Complex World

  • Philip G. Cerny
Part of the International Series on Public Policy book series (ISPP)


The concept of ‘governance’ denotes not formal institutions but informal forms of social control and loose and fungible structures of power. Interest group theory, public policy analysis, bargaining approaches, pluralism and neopluralism, elite theory, capture theory, and the like suggest that such processes are at the heart of policy-making and implementation. Global governance institutions are not the structurally differentiated, relatively autonomous, multifunctional institutions represented in modern state theory; indeed, they are moving in the opposite direction through the ‘fragmentation of global governance architectures’, ‘forum shopping’, and the hybridization of public and private. Globalizing special interests enmeshed with transgovernmental networks increasingly determine outcomes. Global economic growth, environmental policy-making, new wars, and uneven development involve complex dialectics of bottom up/top down, inside/out, endogenous and exogenous variables, not a coherent institutional shift to global governance.


Global Governance Forum Shopping International Relation Theory Global Economic Growth Public Policy Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ahmed, A. (2013). The thistle and the drone: How America’s war on terror became a global war on tribal Islam. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  2. Albert, Mathias, Barry Buzan, & Michael Zürn, (Eds.). (2013). Bringing sociology to IR: World politics as differentiation theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  3. Baumol, W. J., Litan, R. E., & Schramm, C. J. (2007). Good capitalism, bad capitalism, and the economics of growth and prosperity. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Biermann, F., Pattberg, P., van Asselt, H., & Zelli, F. (2009). ‘The Fragmentation of Global Governance Architectures: A Frameworkfor Analysis’, Global Environmental Politics, 9(4), 14–40.Google Scholar
  5. Cerny, P. G. (1990). The changing architecture of politics: Structure, agency and the future of the state. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Cerny, P. G. (1998). Neomedievalism, civil wars and the new security dilemma: Globalization as durable disorder. Civil Wars, 1(1), 36–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cerny, P. G. (1999). Globalization, governance and complexity. In A. Prakash & J. A. Hart (Eds.), Globalization and governance (pp. 188–212). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Cerny, Philip G. (2000b). “Restructuring the Political Arena: Globalization and the Paradoxes of the Competition State,” in Randall D. Germain, ed., Globalization and Its Critics: Perspectives from Political Economy (London: Macmillan), pp. 117–138.Google Scholar
  9. Cerny, P. G. (2010a). The competition state today: From raison dÉtat to raison du monde. Policy Studies, 4(1), 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cerny, P. G. (2010b). Rethinking world politics: A theory of transnational neopluralism. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cerny, P. G. (2012). Globalization and the transformation of power. In M. Haugaard & K. Ryan (Eds.), Political power: The development of the field (pp. 185–214). Leverkusen/Opladen: Barbara Budrich for the International Political Science Association, Research Committee No. 36, Political Power.Google Scholar
  12. Cerny, P. G. (2013a). The paradox of liberalism in a globalizing world. In R. Friedman, K. Oskanian, & R. P. Pardo (Eds.), After liberalism? The future of liberalism in international relations (pp. 189–214). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Cerny, P. G. (2013b). Functional differentiation, globalization and the new transnational neopluralism. In M. Albert, B. Buzan, & M. Zürn (Eds.), Bringing sociology to international relations: World politics as differentiation theory (pp. 205–227). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cerny, P. G. (2014). Rethinking financial regulation: Risk, club goods and regulatory fatigue. In T. Oatley & W. Kindred Winecoff (Eds.), Handbook of the international political economy of monetary relations (pp. 343–363). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  15. Coen, D., & Pegram, T. (2015). Wanted: A third generation of global governance research. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 28(4), 417–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Coser, L. A. (1956). The functions of social conflict. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  17. Crozier, M., & Friedberg, E. (1977). L’Acteur et le système: les contraintes de l’action collective. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.Google Scholar
  18. Cutler, A. Claire, Virginia Haufler, & Tony Porter (Eds.). (1999). Private authority and international affairs, Albany, NY: State University of New York PressGoogle Scholar
  19. Dahl, R. A. (1961). Who governs? Democracy and power in the American city. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Davies, T. (2013). NGOs: A new history of transnational civil society. London: C. Hurst.Google Scholar
  21. Durkheim, E. (1893/1933). The division of labor in society, (George Simpson, Trans.). New York: Free Press, original French edition 1893.Google Scholar
  22. Evans, M. G. (2005). Policy transfer in global pesrpective. London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  23. Frank, T. (2004). What’s the matter with Kansas? How conservatives won the heart of America. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  24. Gabriela Kütting & Philip G. Cerny, ‘Rethinking Global Environmental Policy: From Global Governance to Transnational Neopluralism’, Public Administration, 93(4) (December 2015), 907–921: doi:  10.1111/padm.12189.
  25. Hall, Rodney Bruce, & Thomas J. Bierstecker (Eds.). (2003). The emergence of private authority in global governance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)Google Scholar
  26. Higgott, Richard, Geoffrey R.D. Underhill, & Andreas Bieler, (Eds.). (1999). Non-state actors and authority in the global system (London: Routledge)Google Scholar
  27. Hobson, John M., & Leonard Seabrooke (Eds.). (2007). Everyday politics of the world economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)Google Scholar
  28. Hollis, M., & Smith, S. (1990). Explaining and understanding international relations. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  29. Horsfall, D. (2011). From competition state to competition states? An empirical exploration. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Department of Social Policy, University of York.Google Scholar
  30. Jessop, B. (1997). The future of the national state: Erosion or reorganization? Reflections on the West European case. Paper presented at a conference on Globalization: Critical Perspectives, University of Birmingham, 14–16 March.Google Scholar
  31. Kahler, Miles, & David A. Lake (Eds.). (2003). Governance in a global economy: Political authority in transition (Princeton: Princeton University Press)Google Scholar
  32. Kanter, R. M. (1985). The change masters: Innovation and entrepreneurship in the American corporation. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  33. Key Jr., V. O. (1953). Politics, parties, and pressure groups. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell.Google Scholar
  34. Kotkin, J. (1992). Tribes: How race, religion and identity determine success in the new global economy. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  35. Kütting, Gabriela and Cerny, P. G. (2015). Rethinking Global Environmental Policy: From Global Governance to Transnational Neopluralism, Public Administration, 93(4), 907–921.Google Scholar
  36. Lake, D. A. (1999). Global governance: A relational contracting approach. In A. Prakash & J. A. Hart (Eds.), Globalization and governance (pp. 31–53). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Lindblom, C. E. (1977). Politics and markets: The world’s political economic systems. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  38. Lowi, T. J. (1964). American business, public policy, case studies, and political theory. World Politics, 16(4), 677–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McFarland, A. S. (2004). Neopluralism: The evolution of political process theory. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.Google Scholar
  40. Minc, A. (1993). Le nouveau Moyen Âge. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  41. Mügge, D. (2006). Private-public puzzles: Inter-firm competition and transnational private regulation. New Political Economy, 11(2), 177–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ohmae, Kenichi (1990). The Borderless World: Power and Strategy in the Interlinked Economy (Pensacola, Florida: Ballinger Publishing).Google Scholar
  43. Ostrom, V., Tiebout, C. M., & Warren, R. (1961). The organization of government in metropolitan areas: A theoretical inquiry. American Political Science Review, 55(3), 831–842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Peter Dauvergne & Genevieve Lebaron, Protest, Inc.: The Corporatization of Activism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014)Google Scholar
  45. Pierre, J. (2013). Globalization and governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Roberts, A. (2010). The logic of discipline: Global capitalism and the architecture of government. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Roman Goldbach, Global Governance and Regulatory Failure: The Political Economy of Banking (Basingstoke, Hants.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).Google Scholar
  48. Ronit, Karsten, & Volker Schneider (Eds.). (2000). Private organizations in global politics (London: Routledge)Google Scholar
  49. Rosenau, J. N. (1997). Along the domestic-foreign frontier: Exploring governance in a turbulent world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Simmel, G. (1922/1955). Conflict and the web of group affiliations. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  51. Slaughter, A.-M. (2004). A new world order. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Stone, D. & Ladi, S. (2015). Global public policy and transnational administration. Public Administration, 93(4), 839–855.Google Scholar
  53. Stone, R. W. (2011). Controlling institutions: International organizations and the global economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Waltz, K. (1979). Theory of international politics. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip G. Cerny
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManchesterManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations