On “A Theory of Global Governance”
Michael Zürn, who is director of the Global Governance Unit at WZB, published his "A Theory of Global Governance" (Oxford University Press) in 2018. The book represents the culmination of years of study focusing on international power systems, authority and attribution. It showcases Michael Zürn’s long-lasting commitment to deepening and developing a comprehensive understanding of international relations. Now, a top international journal devotes a symposium to the monograph.
The book has been broadly received and debated. It is one of the most cited International Relations (IR) books published in the last years. For an International Theory special issue, Orfeo Fioretos and Jonas Tallberg – both renowned experts in the field – have now collected writings by acclaimed scholars replying to and commenting on the book: among the contributors is the most renowned IR scholar worldwide, Robert O. Keohane; Beth Simmons, Michael Barnett and Vincent Pouliot join as arguably the most important figures of the next generation; and leading IR scholars from Europe like Nicole Deitelhoff, Anna Leander and Jan Aart Scholte. Each of these contributions critically engages with various aspects of the book: its relationship to the revival of geopolitics, the growing importance of epistemic authority, the legitimation problems of global governance, and its relationship to historical practices to name only a few.
The issue demonstrates that Zürn's monograph is broadly seen as a major contribution to IR theory. As Keohane puts it: “As a result of its sophistication and scope, "A Theory of Global Governance" is a significant contribution to international relations theory.” In the words of the editors Orfeo Fioretos and Jonas Tallberg, the symposium uses Zürn's monograph as a springboard to explore themes of authority, legitimacy, and contestation of global governance and, more generally, the state of global governance theory.