Ethics & International Affairs


Cosmopolitan Democracy: Paths and Agents

Daniele Archibugi and David Held*

One of the recurrent criticisms of the project of cosmopolitan democracy has been that it has not examined the political, economic and social agents that might have an interest in pursuing this programme. This criticism is addressed directly in this article. It shows that there are a variety of paths that, in their own right, could lead to more democratic global governance, and that there are a diversity of political, economic and social agents that have an interest in the pursuit of these. Cosmopolitan democracy is an open-ended project that aims to increase the accountability, transparency and legitimacy of global governance, and the battery of agents and initiatives outlined highlight the direction and politics required to make it possible.

(Online publication December 15 2011)

Daniele Archibugi is Research Director at the Italian National Research Council, and Professor of Innovation, Governance, and Public Policy at the University of London, Birkbeck College. He works on the economics and politics of technological change and on the political theory of international relations. Professor Archibugi has taught at the University of Sussex, where he was appointed Honorary Professor in 2006; Cambridge University; the London School of Economics; and Harvard. He is an adviser to the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, several UN agencies, and various national governments. He has led many research projects for the European Commission and other international organizations. He is the coeditor of Cosmopolitan Democracy (with David Held, 1995), Re-imagining Political Community (with David Held and Martin Kohler, 1998), Filosofi per la pace (with Franco Voltaggio, 1999), and the editor of Debating Cosmopolitics (2003). His book The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy (2008) has been translated into several languages. His latest coedited book (with Mathias Koenig-Archibugi and Raffaele Marchetti) is Global Democracy: Normative and Empirical Perspectives (2011).

David Held holds the Graham Wallas Chair in Political Science at the London School of Economics. His publications include Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance (1995), Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, and Culture (1999), Global Covenant (2004), Globalisation/Anti-Globalisation (2007), Models of Democracy (2006), and Cosmopolitanism: Ideals and Realities (2010). His main research interests include the study of globalization, changing forms of democracy, and the prospects of regional and global governance. He is a Director of Polity Press, which he cofounded in 1984, and General Editor of Global Policy.


* A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Montreal, Canada, March 2011, and at the Workshop of the Democracy and Global Governance Programme of the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, June 2011. We wish to thank the participants for their comments. We have also greatly benefitted from the comments of three referees and the editors of this journal.