BRICS and the Privileging of Informality in Global Governance

The staging of the Fifth BRICS summit on 26–27 March 2013 consolidated the impression of nuanced club dynamics. Despite considerable differences in strategic perspectives, the BRICS members have been successful in amplifying converging interests while avoiding friction from disagreement by downplaying issues on which there is geopolitical divergence and policy competition. Their ‘agency’ of cooperation within BRICS is founded on an informal and loose operational style, which has facilitated organizational maintenance. The approach of accenting institutional flexibility is demonstrated by content analysis of BRICS declarations, interviews and media releases, which reveal how the membership of this forum have given greater attention to areas in which they share common interests, and made progress working towards them, while refraining from addressing issues in which there are serious underlying tensions.