World Society in the Making? Varieties of Transnational Institutions

7-8 December 2015

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. Yet, is this what we truly observe when we look at the various forms of (institutionalized) transnational cooperation? This conference took 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? Can we identify patterns - and do those challenge established theories?

‘Theorizing the World Society offers opportunities to rethink and challenge the current state of the global’, argued Dr. Katja Freistein from the Centre of Global Cooperation Research in her opening remarks. Such a conceptual take on World Society pervaded many papers presented at the conference 'World Society in the Making? Varieties of Transnational Institutions' that she co-organized together with Dr. Rainer Baumann (both heading research units at the Centre) and Prof. Andrew Cooper, University of Waterloo, London.

Thereby, the contributions of the international researchers invited to this event were enriched by the expertise present with fellows and staff at the Centre. The panels elaborated on various aspects of an emerging World Society; whereby the shared research interests led to an exciting and illuminating discussion between all participants of the conference. The range of topics presented enabled participants to draw connections between concepts, methods, phaenomena and academic disciplines. The argumentative power of this collaborative endeavour was summed up in Rainer Baumann’s closing remarks: 'Inductive methods' beyond a grand theory might offer a multi-faced and promising venue for future research on the World Society.

Venue: Gerhard-Mercator-Haus, Lotharstr. 57, 47057 Duisburg (University campus Duisburg)