GIGA Focus International Edition English , ,

Civilizing the World Order? The Scope and Potential of Transnational Norm-building Networks

GIGA Focus | International Edition English | Number 01 |

Civil society organizations, epistemic communities, and lobby groups—what we call transnational norm-building networks—are infl uencing the global economy and global politics more than ever before. We argue that such transnational norm-building networks, in contrast to the dominating executive intergovernmental elites and democratically defi cient supranational bodies, hold the scope and potential for a more civilized world order. They are—together with states and international governmental organizations—creating new norms; they are sett ing standards. They associate the voice of stakeholders with decision-making processes, thus leading to an increase in legitimate world governance.

A closer look reveals several signifi cant patt erns of global politics and economics in the current fi nancial and economic crisis:

  • Experience has shown that in times of crisis, expectations of state crisis management are particularly high. This was the case in the period 1929–1931 and in the immediate post-war period; it is no diff erent in the current global economic crisis. However, this reliance exclusively on the nation-state’s creative capacity and on inter state cooperation is misleading because as a result, the risks of the action based on this reliance are not adequately taken into consideration.

  • The development opportunities off ered by new scenarios and actor constellations—transnational non-state actors, in particular—are not recognized.

  • Today’s world must be seen and evaluated as being networked. Transnational networks play a greatly underestimated role in the globalized world, the global economy and global politics.

  • Consequently, the world’s nation-states are only one type of actor among many.

  • Globalization and the erosion of the importance of territorial borders represent, on the one hand, threats to established democratic achievements, as the "bad networks" of transnational organized crime, among others, demonstrate. On the other hand, they open up space for a new, civil world order.

  • In this phase of increasing networking, it is essential to establish the foundations for the legitimacy of transnational actors and for eff ective norms. This would be a contribution to the democratic civilizing of the world.

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Suggested Citation Style

Jakobeit, Cord, Robert Kappel und Ulrich Mückenberger (2010), Civilizing the World Order? The Scope and Potential of Transnational Norm-building Networks, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 01, urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-275316


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The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg publishes the Focus series on Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and global issues. The GIGA Focus is edited and published by the GIGA. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institute. Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. GIGA and the authors cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions, or for any consequences arising from the use of the information provided.

General Editor GIGA Focus Series: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach