Conceptualizing transnational democratic networks: a case study of world wide views on biodiversity

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Introduction to the Project

As global governance literature recognizes nuanced abilities to govern through private and public interactions, the democratic voice of citizen input is in a shift. In response to the changing climate, democratic theorists suggest the need for greater deliberative involvement of citizen input in important and pressing global policy issues. Deliberative democratic theory has found its way into International Relations discussions, as it proposes methods for transnational democracy. Merging democratic theory, concepts of globalization, and transnational network analysis, my thesis informs theoretical discussions of transnational democracy with an analysis of World Wide Views on Biodiversity. Simultaneously, my analysis provides feedback to the World Wide Views network for future projects as a network participating in global citizen deliberations. Transgressing these perimeters in my research, I respond to the integrative calling from World Wide Views’ proponents to assess practical implications of global deliberation while seeking to contribute to the reflective process of the event. “Realizing the potential of global deliberation requires not only continued research efforts but also calls for self-reflection by political actors on how WWViews-type activity fits into the extant institutional landscape, and what is required to make it fit there” (Worthington, Rask, and Jœger 2012, 284). Both academic based goals of the research project intend to advance the initiative as the network continues to organize globally.

The project is phronetic in the interest of evolving the network, theories of deliberative systems, and transnational democracy. My analysis offers a bridge of theory and praxis to steer theory and method while pragmatically appealing to application of global citizen deliberation. The discussion to follow identifies three core concepts of transnational democracy present in International Relations literature: Cosmopolitan Nationalism, (Liberal) Global Cosmopolitan Democracy, and Transnational Discursive Democracy. Recognizing disjunction between theory and practice, I intend to balance the two perspectives - empirically as a case study of a transnational democratic network and theoretically to address transnational democratic theory.  Because World Wide Views on Biodiversity is the second transnational democratic experiment, I utilize the case study to examine theories of transnational democracy, recognizing World Wide Views as a transnational democratic network

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