Global Governance Fields Beyond Fragmentation and Complexity: Emergence, Effects and Discursive Underpinnings of Interorganizational Relations

Registration deadline
Reichpietschufer 50
10785 Berlin

This workshop aims to query the fixation on complexity and fragmentation in contemporary research on international organizations and global governance. It takes issue with the strangely determinist, yet largely unchallenged truism that global governance in the 21st century is inevitably racing towards an ever more disintegrated institutional landscape, where large international organizations are becoming invariably more multi-purpose while operating alongside specialized smaller programs and initiatives with similar or overlapping mandates. Both of these tendencies are generally perceived to be the result of an unprecedented influence and numerical increase of non-state actors since the 1990s. Existing research on the contemporary rules and organizational structures surrounding specific issues of international concern has been largely focusing on the competitive dynamics that result from the co‐existence of organizations with overlapping mandates and missions as well as on potential or actual collisions between rule-systems. This workshop, by contrast, explores the cooperative relationships between organizations in densely populated governance landscapes. What pulls international organizations into ever-tighter relationships with their peers? How do cooperative endeavors between two or several organizations affect the relationships of other organizations in the respective policy field? What power struggles and asymmetries can be identified in recently proliferating discourses, policies and strategies of interorganizational harmonization? What visions of how responses to issues of global concern should be organized inform contemporary attempts to fortify specific institutional orders or ‘architectures’? To what extent do discourses on good global governance reflect back on interorganizational practices and vice versa (reflexivity)? What alternatives are there to a dominant contemporary discourse which privileges effectiveness of global governance arrangements over other global goals and preaches coordination of international actors as a cure for dysfunctional fragmentation?

While the dynamic of institutional fragmentation and growing complexity as well as its origins have been studied in a variety of fields, we see a strong need for scientific exchange between scholars working on different aspects of cooperative interorganizational relationships in specific policy areas. We therefore invite contributions that either limit themselves to exploring interorganizational relationships in a single policy sector or related to one specific issue, as well as those approaching the issue from a comparative perspective.

Our workshop aims to assemble contributions that address these themes using a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches but always with a strong empirical focus. We invite contributions from scholars of International Relations/Global Governance, International Law, International Political Theory as well as International Political Sociology and would especially welcome inter-disciplinary work.
The workshop will be held at the Berlin Social Science Center/WZB in collaboration with Freie Universität Berlin on 24/25 November 2016. Selected contributors will be notified by end of July 2016. If you want to know more about the Research Group Governance for Global Health go to… .
Deadline for submission of proposals: 8 July 2016. Please send your proposal (ca. 300 words) to
Papers are due on 14th of November 2017 and should ideally not exceed 5000 words.

Prof. Dr. Anna Holzscheiter
Freie Universität Berlin & Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung/ WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations & Head of WZB/FU Junior Research Group „Governance for Global Health (GOGH)“
Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin
fon: +49 30 25491 136

Freie Universität Berlin / WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Contact person
Laura Pantzerhielm