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Looking for Utopia: Experts and Global Governance.

  • Academic Journal
  • Journal of International Political Theory; Jun2022, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p262-272, 11p
  • The coronavirus pandemic has given an old question new traction: what exactly is the meaning of appeals to expert authority in politics? Though basing political decisions on the best available scientific and technical knowledge may be a plain task on the surface, and calls for 'listening to science' regularly maintain this perception, the relationship between expertise and politics is complicated. Given the particular centrality of expertise to global governance practices and institutions, what would an international political theory of expertise look like? Two recent volumes on the subject offer highly original answers to this question. Read alongside each other, Lucile Maertens and Marieke Louis' Why International Organizations Hate Politics and Jens Steffek's International Organization as Technocratic Utopia bring to the fore the technocratic legacies and depoliticising tendencies of global governance. In this review essay, I first discuss the historical emergence of technocratically-inspired international organisations as portrayed by Jens Steffek, and then turn to Lucile Maertens' and Marieke Louis' practitioner-centred account of how depoliticisation works and is best understood analytically. I then offer a comparative discussion and propose that, with the help of both books, we can picture global governance as driven by a search for utopia. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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