1st Edition

Rethinking Global Governance Learning from Long Ignored Societies

By Justin Jennings Copyright 2023
    162 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book argues that long-ignored, non-western political systems from the distant and more recent past can provide critical insights into improving global governance.

    These societies show how successful collection action can occur by dividing sovereignty, consensus building, power from below, and other mechanisms. For a better tomorrow, we need to free ourselves of the colonial constraints on our political imagination. A pandemic, war in Europe, and another year of climatic anomalies are among the many indications of the limits of global governance today. To meet these challenges, we must look far beyond the status quo to the thousands of successful mechanisms for collective action that have been cast aside a priori because they do not fit into Western traditions of how people should be organized. Coming from long past or still enduring societies often dismissed as “savages” and “primitives” until well into the twentieth century, the political systems in this book were often seen as too acephalous, compartmentalized, heterarchical, or anarchic to be of use. Yet as globalization makes international relations more chaotic, long-ignored governance alternatives may be better suited to today’s changing realities. Understanding how the Zulu, Trypillian, Alur, and other collectives worked might be humanity’s best hope for survival.

    This book will be of interest both to those seeking to apply archaeological and ethnographic data to issues of broad contemporary concern and to academics, politicians, policy makers, students, and the general public seeking possible alternatives to conventional thinking in global governance.

    1. Towards a More Perfect Union; 2. The Western Roots of Global Governance; 3. Dividing Sovereignty; 4. Building Up and Standing Down; 5. (Re)Building Consensus; 6. Powering From Below; 7. Ordering Anarchy; 8. Finding Better Futures


    Justin Jennings is Senior Curator of the Archaeology of the Americas at the Royal Ontario Museum and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. His research interests include early cities, states, and cultural horizons in the Andes and in other regions of his world.