Networks and Transnational Security Governance

In collaboration with: Deborah Avant

How is it that the United States could work together with China and Iran (among others) to combat piracy at a moment when US tensions with China were on the rise and many US politicians were unwilling to even negotiate over nuclear issues wit hIran? How do we account for instances when the United States acts in ways that threaten global stability rather than working to generate it hte way theories of hegemony would expect? How can we explain the clearly consequential involvement of commercial and human rights groups in security arrangements that affect sovereign concerns? Why are many issues t0 do with weapons ofmass destruction governed through informal transgovernmental arrangements rather than institutions that involve the highest levels ofgovermnent? Traditional analyses of global security politics do not ask on these questions. Assuming the benefits of US hegemony, they focus on its stability, the rise of new powers, and the intransigence of various rogue states. Nor can traditional theories answer them. They cannot explain why there is “governance” (or not) of important security issues—from combatting piracy to curtailing nuclear proliferation to reducing the contributions of extractive industries to violence and conflict. They often miss collective efforts resulting from non-state action or taking less traditional forms. And they cannot explain why governance sometimes serves broad concerns (as liberal theories expect) and other times narrow ones (as realist theories expect). This volume uses network theory to develop a framework within which to answer these questions that puzzle traditional security analysts.

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