LUISS University Press

Symposium: Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need it Most

With a discussion of Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need it Most. By Thom Hale, David Held, and Kevin Young (Polity Press, 2013).

Guest editors

Marcello Di Paola (LUISS Guido Carli, Rome)

Pietro Maffettone (Durham)

Submission deadline

Long abstract (1,000 words max): 15 July, 2015

Full paper (10,000 words max, upon acceptance): 15 November, 2015

Invited contributors

Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex), Kate MacDonald (University of Melbourne), Joyeeta Gupta (Univeriteit van Amsterdam)

Aims and Background

In the last 60 years, global politics has been characterized by the spectacular increase in institutional cooperation. By institutional cooperation we refer to formal types of international and transnational organizations and to more informal types of regimes and systems of norms. While by and large global institutional cooperation has been successful in delivering significant benefits to its participants, most notably economic growth, free trade, the absence of large scale armed conflicts and the spread of democratic forms of governance, many have observed that the prospects for this positive trend to continue in the future are significantly slimmer. Some of the main global collective action problems we face, from financial stability, to the threat of human induced climate change, are clearly far from being effectively addressed by our existing global institutional framework. In fact some have argued that our current system of institutional cooperation seems to be structurally incapable of dealing with the type of problems faced by humanity in the 21st century. In their path breaking book, Hake, Held and Young argue that it is the very success of the post-World-War-II international order that explains the current gridlock of global cooperation. The post-World-War II international institutional order allowed for the deepening of the process of globalization, and in turn, created the very grounds for the system’s current inadequacy.

In this special issue of PPI we are interested in exploring the following themes from both normative and empirical/theoretical perspectives. Contributions from political science, political theory and philosophy, and international relations broadly construed are welcomed

The themes are:

–          What are the causes of the current failures in several international and global institutional processes and regimes?

–          What are the implications for global cooperation of the shifting balance of economic power from established Western democracies to emerging powers such as China, India, and Brazil?

–          Can we still hold on to traditional visions concerning institutional cosmopolitanism in a gridlocked world?

–          Are normative concepts such as legitimacy and justice relevant to supersede widespread disagreements about how to solve collective action problems we face at the global level? If not, what role, if any, can these concepts play to move us beyond Gridlock?

Submission Details


Please send a (.odt, .doc or .docx) file containing a long abstract (1,000 words max) and a title, prepared for blind review with all references to the author removed. All personal information (name, affiliation, and contact) must be submitted separately, along with a short abstract (200 words max).


Deadline for abstract submission is July 15th, 2015. Decisions will be made within a month.


All material should be submitted on line to:


Upon notification of acceptance, you will be invited to submit the full paper (10,000 words max) no later than November 15th, 2015. 

Further Inquiries


Please direct any queries about this call for papers to PPI’s Editors at More information on the Philosophy and Public Issues can be found at


Guest editors  can be contacted at:

Pietro Maffettone

Marcello Di Paola