Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Examining the Non-State Role in International Governance

Dannenmaier, Eric

This dissertation focuses on the role of non-state actors in international lawmaking and institutions. People increasingly participate in international governance through a range of organizations and institutions yet their access remains contested and tentative; often described as an accommodation but not a right. Citizens may be sovereign at home, but they lack standing at international law. I examined multiple cases where participation has become part of the machinery of international lawmaking - from regional agreements in Europe and the Americas to global accords addressing climate change. Each case shows the assertion of popular will within a governance framework constructed and managed by states. My findings thus reveal a paradigm of state architects and executors that accommodates non-state actors as collaborators and animators. This paradigm challenges the idea that state sovereignty is absolute and impervious without rejecting state dominion outright. Within a broader scholarly discourse that often presents a binary choice - either states are sovereign (leaving people with no real place in international lawmaking) or people are sovereign (leaving the international system assailable for its conspicuous democracy deficit) - my findings suggest a hybrid approach that reinforces the authority of states while making meaningful space for non-state actors. International governance thus gains some of the value of democratic, participatory models in a way that enhances rather than disrupts the existing international legal system.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Damrosch, Lori
J.S.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 20, 2013
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