No Synonyms: Global Governance and the Transnational Public

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Building on the classical literature of the public, the article critically analyses the current literature on global governance. After briefly presenting the classical understanding of the public the author goes on to argue that in global governance the effectiveness of collective problem-solving is seen as a compensation for its lack of inclusiveness which in turn makes it impossible to equate global governance with (transnational) public. The author criticizes the substitution of the term “the public” by “stakeholders” since the notion of stakeholders allows for economically powerful voices to intervene in public decision-making processes. The article furthermore criticizes ideas on global governance as “strong publics” on the basis that even if the decision-making seen in global governance was to follow the ideal of rational deliberation, this would not make it equal to the transnational publics, since the deliberations of transnational “strong publics” are per definition exclusive in nature.

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