Global Governance Institute


The Governance Structure of 21st-Century International Society - Prof Jack Donnelly, Joseph Korbel School of International Studies

09 June 2016, 6:15 pm–7:30 pm

Jack Donnelly

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Wilkins Gustave Tuck LT

International governance is a feature of all international systems.  Most accounts of the changing forms of twenty-first-century international governance, however, present "global governance" as either sui generis or in terms of a historical comparison to the modern states system or medieval Europe.

Jack characterizes contemporary international governance instead in terms of a comparative analytical framework of general applicability based on a reconceptualization of the nature of international political structures.  After some conceptual and analytical preliminaries, Jack sketches two models of special relevance:  states systems (understood as systems of multiple relatively homogeneous territorial polities with relatively simple patterns of stratification) and "heterarchies" (systems of multiple functionally differentiated non-territorial centers arranged in divided or tangled hierarchies).  Contemporary international society, Jack argues, can best be modeled as a states system with a heavy heterarchic overlay - and may be moving towards a heterarchic international system with a heavy states-system residue.  

Jack Donnelly is Andrew Mellon Professor at the Joseph Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Jack received his PhD in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1982. As a student at Berkeley, he studied political theory and international relations and did his dissertation on the development of the concept of human rights. Most of Jack's writings have been in the broad, multidisciplinary field of human rights.  They include three books -- The Concept of Human Rights, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice (second edition, 2003), and International Human Rights (third edition, 2006) -- and over fifty articles and book chapters, which have been translated into nine languages.

Jack's current human rights work focuses on a book-length project comparing conceptions of human dignity, with extended case studies of the West and China from "ancient" to "modern" eras. In the area of international theory, Jack is currently working on a series of articles that aim to reconstruct understanding of the nature and dimensions of international political structures.  So far, two have come out in print:  Sovereign Inequalities and Hierarchy in Anarchy: American Power and International Society, European Journal of International Relations 12 (2006): 139-170 and Rethinking Political Structures: From 'Ordering Principles' to 'Vertical Differentiation' -- and Beyond. International Theory 1 (2009): 49-86.  (A long contemplated book on ancient Greek international society is, once again, on hold.)

The event is open to all, but to avoid disappointment please Register.