Transnational networks and the construction of global law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


What is the distinctive mark of legal governance at the transnational level? Legal pluralism has generally adopted an agnostic approach to this question, focusing instead on the more descriptive task of cataloging the entities that populate the field of global governance and of analyzing the interactions between them. So-called transnational law provides an important terrain of engagement for this debate. Private transnational legal structures can be found in diverse areas, ranging from trade-related issues, to corporate responsibility, human and labor rights, and environmental protection. The challenge for transnational constitutionalism-as with other areas of legal pluralism-lies in developing an institutional model that explains how constitutionally embedded legal authority can arise independently of the institutional structures of state-based public law. This chapter proposes a novel response to this question, which is based on the idea of networked constitutionalism. In this framework a legal order generates its own validity through an emergent, network-based process. By developing a complex web of interrelated and cross-referencing norms, enforcement mechanisms, and institutional structures, such a network can achieve systemic autonomy and legal authority that is independent of the political apparatus of the state.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Global Legal Pluralism
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780197516744
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2020.


  • Constitutionalism
  • Emergence
  • Global governance
  • Social network analysis
  • Transnational networks


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