Governance is highly relevant to the causes and consequences of risks, conservation, and crime.
On a national scale, governance describes structures and processes for collective decision making involving government and nongovernmental actors. At the global level, governance embodies a horizontally organized structure of functional self-regulation encompassing state and nonstate actors bringing about collectively binding decisions without superior authority.
Issues of declining state sovereignty and the consequent rise of competing forms of governance (e.g., private, inter-, transnational) represent a conceptual, normative, and political challenge for criminology. Critical criminology has historically viewed the state as being the primary problem whereas now one solution that some groups advocate for is a tightening of the state’s powers in order to reverse the effects of neo-liberalism and the spread of power to ungovernable and politically unaccountable spaces.
Global governance has implications for criminology, conservation, and risk in their separate spaces; the issue is also relevant to the three when they are combined. In many instances, the word global is used to mean a homogeneous and uniform system, for example of mitigating risks of plastics in marine ecosystems, of crime control, or transboundary/ transfrontier protected areas. Today, scientists, conservationists, and criminal justice practitioners are organized in postnational ways, using the internet and email to communicate and share a common system of values, rewards, and events. Thus it is unsurprising that politicians from around the world borrow from the American style of communicating about crime. We talk about “zero poaching” or zero tolerance policing as examples of policy transfers. Some scholars remind us that we cannot and should not take for granted that surface similarities necessarily imply deeper convergence. Zero tolerance rhetoric may sound the same in the UK and the US, for example, but the policies mean very different things.
When we start to think about global governance, we can think about reframing social justice and political action, which is often a desirable outcome.