Global governance is widely viewed as in crisis. Deepening interdependence of cross-border activity belies the relative absence of governance mechanisms capable of effectively tackling major global policy challenges. Scholars have an important role to play in understanding blockages and ways through. A first generation of global governance research made visible an increasingly complex and globalising reality beyond the interstate domain. A varied second generation of scholarship, spanning diverse subfields, has built upon this ‘signpost scholarship’ to generate insight into efforts to manage, bypass and even – potentially – transcend multilateral gridlock to address pressing transboundary problems. This article plots a course towards a ‘third generation’ of global governance research, serving to also introduce a special section which brings together leading scholars in the field of global governance, working across theoretical, analytical and issue-area boundaries. This collaborative endeavour proposes to advance a convergence, already underway, across a theoretically and empirically rich existing scholarship, distinguished by a concern for the complexity of global public policy delivery.
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