This volume is the first detailed study of the emergence of regular and frequent heads of government meetings (summits), covering the period from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s.

Summit meetings of heads of government have become 'banal' in today's world. Yet they are a relatively recent practice that took off only in the mid-1970s. The aim of the book is to explore the origins of this new feature of global governance in its historical context. Why did heads of Western governments decide to regularly meet up in the European Council and the G7? What were they aiming at? How were these meetings run and what consequences did they have? How did other actors of international relations – states as well as non-state and/or transnational actors - react to this transformation?

Based on newly released archival material, International Summitry and Global Governance investigates the rise of regular international summitry and its impact on international relations. The volume brings together the best specialists of this new field of historical enquiry in order to explore those features of global governance in their historical context, and open up an interdisciplinary dialogue with social scientists who have studied summits from their own disciplinary perspectives.

This book will be of much interest to students of international history, Cold War studies, global governance, foreign policy and IR in general.

chapter |8 pages


Analysing the Rise of Regular Summitry

part I|106 pages

New tools for European and international governance

chapter 2|16 pages

The foundations of summitry

chapter 4|28 pages

Less than a permanent secretariat, more than an ad hoc preparatory group

A prosopography of the personal representatives of the G7 summits (1975–1991)

chapter 5|23 pages

Between political messages and public expectations

G7 summits in French and US public opinion (1975–1985)

part II|119 pages

Global and Western challenges

chapter 6|21 pages

Refashioning the West to dispel its fears

The early G7 summits

chapter 7|14 pages

Creating the expectation of a collective response

The impact of summitry on transatlantic relations

chapter 9|24 pages

The road to Cancun

The life and death of a North–South summit

chapter 11|11 pages