International politics has often been viewed as a brutal place where might trumps right and where, as a consequence, questions of democracy are irrelevant to ask. In the last decades, however, scholars and political leaders have increasingly suggested that elements of democracy exist in governance beyond individual states. If this is so, how does democracy beyond the state shape international politics? This article suggests conceptual preliminaries for theorising consequences of democracy beyond the state in general and their implications for problems of peace and conflict in particular. The purpose is twofold: first, to begin reconstructing existing normative democratic theory into an explanatory perspective sensitive to international politics; second, to indicate how this new perspective is able to explain empirical observations pertaining to conflict and cooperation among states; international institutions; foreign policies; human rights protection; and the violence of transnational terrorist networks.
Democratic practices exist in politics within and beyond individual states. To date, however, it is only the democratic practices within states that have been analyzed in search for causal explanations of political outcomes, for example, peace and human rights protection. Having established the problematic nature of this situation, the purpose of this article is to explain why the situation emerges in political science and then to suggest a strategy to overcome it. The lack of attention to global democracy, or democracy beyond the state more generally, in explanatory theory is suggested to depend on prevalent but unnecessary conceptual delimitations of democracy which contradict standard assumptions about international politics. Those contradictions can be avoided, however, by defining democracy as rule by the largest group. It is argued that the concept of rule by the largest group, while protecting traditional virtues of democracy such as freedom and equality of individual persons in politics, allows scholars to describe a wider range of international practices than have been available for empirical research based on the dominating conceptions of democracy in normative and empirical literatures. Most fundamentally, it frees future research on the effects of democracy beyond the state from a key risk of self-contradiction.
While there is broad consensus that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sometimes succeed in influencing policy making within international organizations (IOs), there is much less agreement on the factors that make NGO lobbying effective. This article makes two contributions to this debate. First, the determinants of influence among NGOs active in different IOs, issue areas and policy phases are examined. The analysis builds on original survey data of more than 400 NGOs involved in five different IOs, complemented by elite interviews with IO and state officials. Secondly, the article advances a specific argument about how the strategic exchange of information and access between NGOs and IOs increases NGO influence in IOs. This argument, derived from theories of lobbying in American and European politics, is contrasted with three alternative explanations of NGO influence, privileging material resources, transnational networks and public opinion mobilization, and the broader implications of these results for research on NGOs in global governance are explored.
Recognition plays a multifaceted role in international theory. In rarely communicating literatures, the term is invoked to explain creation of new states and international structures; policy choices by state and non-state actors; and normative justifiability, or lack thereof, of foreign and international politics. The purpose of this symposium is to open new possibilities for imagining and studying recognition in international politics by drawing together different strands of research in this area. More specifically, the forum brings new attention to controversies on the creation of states, which has traditionally been a preserve for discussion in International Law, by invoking social theories of recognition that have developed as part of International Relations more recently. It is suggested that broadening imagination across legal and social approaches to recognition provides the resources needed for theories with this object to be of maximal relevance to political practice.