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Title: The World Economic Forum : an anatomy of multi-stakeholder global policy-making
Author: Khanna, Parag
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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A growing literature speaks to how non-state actors (both corporations and civil society) increasingly play roles in global governance such as lobbying inter-state deliberations or filling governance gaps in the provision of public goods. Far less analysis, however, has been devoted to how such actors attempt to supply new and original global policy processes altogether. How does a non-state actor acquire sufficient authority to become an anchor of global governance. Over the past forty years, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a business-funded and business membership non-profit foundation, has also gradually emerged as a standing site of multi-stakeholder interactions and negotiations. It convenes diverse actors through its various summits, facilitates joint initiatives among them, and attempts to shape procedural and substantive norms at the global level. Does the WEF's role as a bridge among state and non-state actors make it a legitimate site of multi-stakeholder global policymaking. What does the WEF story tell us about the conditions under which organizations can serve to anchor global policy processes within a multi-actor world society. This dissertation provides an anatomy of the WEF and account of how its functions have evolved in its first four decades. It argues that as the WEF has transitioned from a primarily business-driven management forum into a fuller multi-stakeholder vehicle, it has acquired sufficient recognition and authority to become a unique non-state hub of global policy processes. It attempts to demonstrate this through a detailed analysis of how the WEF's roles have expanded to encompass various convening, facilitation, and norm entrepreneurship activities. It also examines whether the WEF's evolving mission statements and business models have empowered it to adapt to its multiple constituents' priorities while affording it increasing neutrality among them and independence from any one of them. Can the WEF (and similar multi-stakeholder bodies) move beyond being considered supplements to the existing inter-governmental organizations which anchor the international society of states towards being the main legitimate sites for world society interactions. This analysis contributes to the empirical literature on new global governance instruments as well as pluralist accounts of the evolving global policy architecture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available