Transnational networked authority

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The structure of the global governance system has undergone significant changes in the past few years. From a system governed primarily by global public law institutions established through multilateral treaties, it has metamorphosed into a hybrid field in which a plethora of public, private, and semi-public institutions interact in various ways. The shift to a hybrid global governance architecture presents a complex challenge for legal and political theory, with immense policy implications. In the present article, I respond to this challenge by developing a new model of transnational legal authority, which conceptualizes it as an emergent, network-based phenomenon. According to this model, the emergence of transnational networked authority is dependent on the existence of a multi-layered structure of strongly connected transnational regimes. Key factors in the emergence of networked authority are the normative and compliance synergies that arise through the densification of links across the network. I examine in this context the linkage between the sociological and the jurisprudential aspects of the authority of private transnational regulatory regimes, and develop the idea of ‘network grounding’, which emphasizes the relational structure of private transnational legality. I illustrate the thesis by reviewing findings from a network analysis of transnational corporate social responsibility networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-293
Number of pages29
JournalLeiden Journal of International Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2022.


  • CSR
  • global governance
  • network analysis
  • network grounding
  • relational authority


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