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Mershon Center Speaker Series
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Tana Johnson
Permeation of Global Governance by Pressure Groups
Thursday, March 09, 2017, 12:00pm - 01:30pm
The Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Avenue, Room 120
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Tana Johnson

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Tana Johnson's research interests include global governance, international organizations, energy/environmental policy, interactions between the private and public sectors, and U.S. foreign policy. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in International Organization, Journal of Politics, Review of International Organizations, and Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency. Johnson's book Organizational Progeny: Why Governments are Losing Control over the Proliferating Structures of Global Governance (2014, Oxford University Press) shows that in a variety of policy areas, global governance structures are getting harder for national governments to control -- not only because the quantity and staffing of international organizations has mushroomed, but also because the people working in these organizations try to insulate any new organizations against governments' interference. Organizational Progeny is the recipient of the International Studies Association's 2015 Chadwick F. Alger Prize for best book on international organization and multilateralism.

Johnson has received research fellowships from the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University, and from the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University.

She serves as a faculty adviser and instructor for Duke’s Program on Global Policy and Governance, which places graduate students in internships in international governmental and non-governmental organizations in Geneva, Switzerland. She also has been an energy policy fellow through the Global Governance 2022 program, which consists of academics and practitioners from China, Germany, and the United States.


In domestic politics, pressure groups are viewed warily. The founders of the United States, for instance, warned about the “mischiefs of faction” and strived to create a political system that would moderate their influence. But international politics is very different. There, the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) regularly solicit participation from pressure groups, often in the hopes of connecting with the grassroots, obtaining diverse input, and boosting IGO legitimacy. In this regard, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are particularly important pressure groups. After all, regardless of whether a particular NGO is known more for service delivery or advocacy of particular policy positions, its actions and aspirations tend to stem from a seed of dissatisfaction that produces policy-related appeals and pressures governmental entities. I develop a framework for understanding which kinds of NGOs tend to permeate IGOs to the greatest extent.



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