CfP: World Society in the Making? Varieties of Transnational Institutions

Call for Papers for the Workshop
World Society in the Making? Varieties ofTransnational Institutions
(7-8 December 2015, Duisburg, Germany)

The emergence of a world society is often considered to be a homogenizing process dominated by the extension of Western rationality with its specific forms and functions of social institutions to other parts of the world. Similarly, norm diffusion is mostly portrayed as a top-down process of transferring globally accepted norms to ‘local’ settings, e.g. through localisation or emulation.

Another general assumption is that growing economic interdependence in the wake of ‘globalization’ along with the global availability of modern communication technologies drives this process, and the growing need of global cooperation to tackle the world’s problems should create further incentives along these lines. Yet, is this what we truly observe when we look at the various forms of (institutionalized) transnational cooperation? Can we not expect, in contrast to the aforementioned arguments, that the at least partial demise of the West and the rise of new powers, regions and new types of actors has led to a growing cultural and thus also institutional differentiation in the world? And do these different instances of cooperation follow the same assumed rationalities – or do they offer alternative forms and functions of cooperation?

The workshop will take stock of various instances of inter- and transnational cooperation and forms of emerging World Societal institutions. What forms and functions do social institutions assume that facilitate transnational, regional and trans-regional cooperation (e.g. knowledge transfer, identity-building, ethnic and religious community-building, solidarity, civil society representation or social movements etc.)? Can we identify patterns – and do those challenge established theories?

The aim of the workshop is to identify potential patterns of transnational cooperation and to take a fresh look at processes of institutional diffusion. We are looking for papers that provide (1) conceptual/theoretical contributions that address the question of cooperation in world society (seminal trends of homogenization or of differentiation; functional necessities of global cooperation or the lack thereof etc.) and/or (2) empirical analyses of instances and forms of cooperation (inter- and transnational, regional, trans-regional), searching for patterns of institutionalization.

Please submit paper proposals (max. 500 words) to baumann@gcr21.uni-due and freistein@gcr21.uni-due by August 15th, 2015. Full conference papers should be distributed by the end of November 2015. The workshop will take place at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Duisburg on
December 7-8, 2015. Expenses for traveling and accommodation will be covered by the Centre for Global Cooperation Research (

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