Vilken roll bör civilsamhällets aktörer spela för att demokratisera globala institutioner? En ´function sensitive´ approach

Today the involvement of civil society actors in global governance institutions takes places in all policy areas. This is seen as a welcome transformation, assumed to be contributing to a democratization through increased transparency and inclusion. But apart from the wide agreement on the general desirability of this transformation, few attempts to systematically analyze under what conditions global governance institutions should involve civil society actorsto become more democratic have so far been made. Moreover, the existing approach that both dominates current theoretical research and is very influential as a normative framework for empirical research, the so-called ‘transmission belt’ approach, is ill-equipped to address the diversity of global institutions exposed in recent empirical studies, with different functions and authority.

The project’s overall research question is: under what conditions do civil society actors contribute to the democratization of global governance institutions? This question is addressed by adopting a so-called ‘function-sensitive’ approach, which can handle the problems that are not solved by the transmission belt approach. A basic assumption of the function-sensitive approach is that the normative demands on civil society actors will vary depending on (a) what function they are supposed to play in the political process, and (b) how the body in which they perform this function is related to other bodies of the policy area in question.

Contact: Eva Erman