The Global Governance of Large Technical Systems
The importance of technology in global affairs is visible to the naked and uninitiated eye. Yet International Relations (IR) still lacks a more systematic and critical attention to the role of technological infrastructures in contemporary global governance dynamics. Here, we seek to prompt IR scholars to move ‘large technical systems’ (LTSs) from the contours of IR narratives to a centre stage, as they hold the potential to respond to pressing challenges for IR scholarship. Employing LTSs to respond to recent publications on the challenge that ‘global governance’ poses to IR, we highlight that an STS-IR encounter can, first, revitalise ‘grand questions’ at the heart of IR and, second, help coping with the complexity of global governance. While this encounter does not offer a ready-tailored panacea for the troubles of IR, a more systematic inquiry into LTSs is a powerful step beyond theoretical and methodological impasses, towards greater inter-disciplinary collaboration.