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Matthias Hofferberth & Daniel Lambach: Claims and Recognition: A Relational Approach to Agency in World Politics. [Abstract]

One of the central assumptions of global governance is that “problems without borders” require collaboration among multiple stakeholders to be managed effectively. This commitment to multistakeholderism, however, is not a functional imperative but the product of potentially contested agency recognition in the past. As such, we contend that a reconstruction of agency dynamics must be at the core of understanding global governance since global governors. We draw on a relational framework to lay out the basics of how to reconstruct the agency of global governors as it emerges through relations. Through these relations, entities-in-the-making advance agency claims or are ascribed agency by relevant others. Equally important from a relational perspective are recognition acts, which those claims trigger. We theorize in this paper that different types of agency claims paired with different recognition dynamics determine the outcome as to who is accepted to “sit at the table” for a particular issue. This theorization is required to (a) better understand current manifestations of global governance in their historical emergence and (b) discuss conditions of agency from a normative perspective to determine who should be the global governors of our time.

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