Bras. Political Sci. Rev.. 04/Aug/2016;10(2):e0009.
Brazil’s Emerging Role in Global Governance: Health, Food Security and Bioenergy
Ever-expanding global interdependences associated with an increasingly dynamic international order makes the continuous updating of our understanding of the structures and processes of global governance a mandatory task. Emerging sources of authority, such as private regulatory mechanisms, and the emerging power of traditional sources of authority, such as developing states, place the debate advanced by Markus Fraundorfer in Brazil’s Emerging Role in Global Governance, Health, Food Security and Bioenergy in the epicenter of any contemporary well-informed analysis of international relations. Investigating the way in which Brazil has influenced the mechanisms of global governance since the beginning of the twenty-first century, Fraundorfer provides a comprehensive account of the central role played by the country in three different sectors: health, food security and bioenergy. The central argument of the book is that Brazil now occupies a new position in an international context traditionally dominated by developed powers. Unveiling the intricate processes through which this increasing influence is built is the book’s central goal. The idea that “Brazil’s exercise of power and its subsequent ability to shape the structures and processes in global governance” (pp. 04) was developed on the basis of the country’s activities in these three sectors is the departing assumption.
In terms of methodological and theoretical contributions, one of the most remarkable innovations accomplished by the author refers to the analysis of three different ‘interfaces’ of power; namely discursive power, decision-making/bargaining power and resource-transfer power (Chapter 02). The debate arising from the analysis of these three dimensions as being socially co-constitutive bridges together notions of hard power from neorealist traditions (focused on capabilities and resources), ideas of soft power from the neo-liberal school (stressing legitimacy and reputation) and social power, which departs from a constructivist framework and stresses the importance of discursive activities (pp. 16-19). Little doubts remain that the book adopts a bold and innovative theoretical approach that has much to contribute toward the approximation of traditionally independent theoretical accounts. A more explicit reflection about the challenges involved in the epistemological and methodological reconciliation of these distinct theoretical traditions was, however, slightly missed and would certainly be a valuable addition to the book.