Liquid Authority: Law, Institutions & Legitimacy in Global Governance
We are used to thinking about politics and law as based on firm institutions with authoritative decision-making power. Most of our key categories and democratic mechanisms revolve around such solid institutions. But solidity has been called into question through the rise of ‘governance’ – and even more so, the rise of global governance. Authority in the global context has increasingly been liquefied: it no longer has a clear locus, it is spread across multiple sites, its forms are malleable, and the actors behind it are often unclear. How can such authority be held to account? Does law continue to play a role in checking it? How can we assess the legitimacy of such governance structures? This talk looks at the challenge of liquid authority and different kinds of responses to it.