Stefan Aykut / Felix Schenuit / Jan Klenke / Emilie d'Amico

It’s a Performance, Not an Orchestra!: Rethinking Soft Coordination in Global Climate Governance

Global Environmental Politics | 2022

  • Abstract

    Global climate governance is in transition. As the focus shifts from negotiations to implementation, the quest for ways to effectively coordinate ambitious climate action has become a key concern. While existing studies frame this problem mostly in terms of institutional design (to “facilitate” state ambition) and strategic delegation of authority (to “orchestrate” nonstate action), this article builds on dramaturgical policy analysis to examine soft coordination in practice. Using ethnographic methods, we analyze public performances at the twenty-fifth Conference of the Parties (COP25) in Madrid. We find that these were shaped by preestablished governance scripts and social roles available to participants, but also by creative improvisations and interventions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat and COP Presidency intervened to configure the physical setting of the conference, mold its narrative arch, and shape available roles. We conclude that performances and dramaturgical interventions are important tools of soft coordination in global climate governance. Their analysis constitutes a productive entry point for grasping contemporary transformations in global politics.


    Global Environmental Politics









    Stefan Aykut

    Stefan Aykut

    Felix Schenuit

    Felix Schenuit

    Universität Hamburg

    Emilie d'Amico

    Emilie d'Amico

    Universität Hamburg


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