Accountability and the Politics of Insurgence
This chapter directly addresses democratic accountability’s place within global governance debates. Focusing on the writings of liberal cosmopolitan democrat David Held and more skeptical perspective of Robert Keohane, the chapter argues that contemporary approaches to democratic accountability in world politics over-emphasize control and order and neglect the place of disorderly, insurgent, and innovative practices taking place outside of formal institutions, often within civil society. Drawing from radical and agonistic traditions of democracy, the chapter introduces reflexive questions about the accountability of accountability frameworks themselves. It also argues for a postsovereignty politics in which democratic accountability is regarded as incompatible with all claims to final authority, regardless of whether that authority is the state, “the people,” or cosmopolitan public law. From this critical accountability approach, the key questions for globalizing democratic accountability are not only whether new accountability regimes can be built, but also whether we can develop reflexive and receptive ways to identify, disrupt, and address the accountability failures of those very regimes.
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