The aim of this chapter is to put forward a set of ideas about how best to understand the place and significance of the World Bank within the structures that are considered to constitute the architecture of global governance. It takes as its point of departure the contention that analyses of the World Bank are informed intrinsically, in a way not often made explicit, on the particular understandings of what ‘global governance’ means that are brought to bear on them. Indeed, the debate about the various institutions of global governance, including the Bank, has generally been conducted in an unsatisfactory manner, inasmuch as it features a pronounced bifurcation between two distinct and, ultimately, contradictory perspectives: either the focus falls on the institution itself, ignoring the structural context into which it is inserted and of which it is intrinsically representative, or it falls on the structural context and the significance of the institution within the contemporary world order, saying next to nothing about the nature of the institution, its operations or the impact of its activities. The former approach emphasizes the shortcomings of the Bank and the limitations of its influence; the latter observes the complex, extensive and unprecedented power and influence that the World Bank both realizes and exercises. We are thus left predominantly with a set of contradictory analyses and conclusions concerning institutions like the World Bank in global governance, which offer only very partial purchase on the nature of their power, influence and significance.