GP Institute

GPIAt the Global Policy Institute we conduct multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research focused on the scholarship, politics, and policy of pressing global collective action problems. Our network of world-class researchers, practitioners, and policymakers provides international intellectual leadership in the field of global challenges, and multilateral and transborder governance arrangements. Please click here to see the Institute's Durham page.

There are currently three research themes being investigated by the GPI:

Global Restructuring, Emerging Powers

This project called “Global Restructuring, Emerging Powers: The Place of International Institutions” is a collaborative effort that will be directed by Professors Held and Ehteshami (both SGIA) in conjunction with many others at the University. This project investigates how and to what extent global shifts in economic power have impacted upon or translated into shifts in political power at a global level. Please click here for more information.

Alternative Frameworks

This project aims to identify the structures of justification and legitimation used by international actors in their claim to authority in global governance, specifically in relation to the formulation of legal claims, the rule of law and democracy. The focus of this project would be in two parts. First, it would study the manner in which the legal form and method are invoked by States, judicial institutions, international organisations and non-State actors, in order to understand and cognise the particular juridical frame that undergirds the international order. Secondly, it would identify and engage critically with the political choices and prevalent ideological commitments immanent in that particular legal form. This would, thirdly, open the possibility to propose alternative normative frameworks for global governance, which could draw on new political theories (for example, but not including, neo-federalism, international legal pluralism). These alternative normative frameworks would also require political justification, but may also have descriptive purpose. Please click here for more information.


“How should political power be divided within and among national peoples? Can the nineteenth-century theory of the sovereign and unitary State be applied to the social reality of the twenty-first century? If not, what constitutional and philosophical theories can make sense of the empirical and normative world of our times? There are no convincing answers to these questions today, as contemporary constitutional and legal theory “come to terms” with two new international and national phenomena. First: the rise of international organizations, like the United Nations, and, within Europe: the emergence of the European Union, have severely challenged the idea of the sovereign state from outside. And, second: at the same time, the myth of monolithic state power has also come under attack from within
This ERC project seeks to make legal and philosophical sense of these developments through the lens of federal theory. The ‘federal principle’, which provides a legal structure that attempts to find ‘unity in diversity’, offers a key to analysing the changing loci of political power; yet international and constitutional federalism continues to be – largely – misunderstood by mainstream legal scholarship. Despite some excellent expositions of federalism in the political science literature, little research has focused on the constitutional structures and philosophical problems underlying these structures. The project hopes to fill this theoretical gap by providing a comparative constitutional analysis of the federal principle. Please click here for more information.


Upcoming GPI events can be found here.

The GPI is co-Directed by Professor David Held and Professor Robert Schuetze, with Deputy Directors Dr. Eva-Maria Nag, Dr. Gleider Hernandez and Dr. Pietro Maffettone.

Global Policy Institute
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