Imagining Pathways - Centre's Flagship Publication Presented at RTG World Politics

A roundtable discussion, co-organized by the Research Training Group 'World Politics' (RTG 2225) and the Institute for World Society Studies (IW) at the University of Bielefeld, put 'Global Cooperation and Global Challenges' centre stage in a discussion of two remarkable publications, which - in a quite different ways - try to open up our understanding of 'the global'. On the panel, Bettina Mahlert and Sigrid Quack, co-editors of the book 'Imagining Pathways for Global Cooperation', presented main findings of this flagship publication from the Centre's research.

Things should, and possibly could be completely different from how they are. 'Imagining Pathways' uses this caveat with critical intent to show how imaginations can open up new ways of how states, civil society, and social movement activists could cooperate differently to work towards change in view of the many daunting problems that haunt the world.

The book examines the role of imagination in initiating, contesting, and changing the pathways of global cooperation. Building on carefully contextualized empirical cases from diverse policy fields, regions, and historical periods, it highlights the agency of a wide range of actors in reflecting on past and present experiences and imagining future ways of collective problem solving.

The discussion in Bielefeld, moderated by Mathias Albert, brought together and confronted this approach with another remarkable research output,  yet to be published and presented by Alina Isakova and Malte Neuwinger, co-editors of the forthcoming book 'Global Challenges: Constructivist Perspectives'. Here 'the global' receives critical scrutiny due to the perception that issues from quite different fields and of different dimension are turned into ‘global challenges’, a label framed, perceived, and addressed in a myriad of ways.

The organizers should be applauded for bringing these two approaches together. Individually and taken together, they seem to go well beyond the extant literature on globalization and global governance.

'Imagining Pathways of Global Cooperation' is the product of several years of joint work in the research group on Pathways and Mechanisms of Global Cooperation with contributions from many of the Centre's fellows and furthers experts. It is Open Access and you can read it here.


Katja Freistein, Bettina Mahlert, Sigrid Quack, and Christine Unrau (eds) 2022. Imagining Pathways for Global Cooperation, Cheltenham and Northampton/MA: Edward Elgar
274 pages, 978 1 80220 580 0 • Hardback / 978-1-78661-240-3 • OpenAccess