Working paper

Representing 'the peoples'? Post-neoliberal states in the international climate negotiations

30 Jun 2011

In recent years, the post-neoliberal bloc of Latin America countries, ALBA, has fashioned a role for itself in international climate change negotiations as representing the voice of ‘the peoples’. In this article I draw on innovative theorising of representation to critically examine this claim. I argue that although ALBA has sought to construct a constituency based on the malleable notion of ‘the people’, its function is better understood as ‘discursive representation’, and specifically as representation of Green Radical discourses. Such forms of representation are potentially important in global governance given the challenges of capturing the interests of all affected parties. I critically evaluate this case of discursive representation in terms of its rhetorical efficacy; accountability; and legitimacy. Although certain favourable elements emerge from this evaluation, this case also points to the potential hazards of transmitting a public discourse through a state-based representative in multilateral settings.

Publication Details
Working Paper 2011/1
Published year only: 
Geographic Coverage