Friday, February 05, 2016

Workshop Presentation: "Theorizing Regulatory Governance Within its Ecology: The Structure of Management in an Age of Globalization"

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)

In my contribution to that workshop, Theorizing Regulatory Governance Within its Ecology: The Structure of Management in an Age of Globalization, I consider the theoretical elements of regulatory governance--that is, whether it is possible to theorize regulatory governance as technique, instrument, framework or ideology. To that end I look at the regulatory governance of the global production chain in garments, and the way the bones of any coherent regulatory structure is exposed in crisis--in this case the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building.

The summary abstract of the paper and the PowerPoints are set out below.

The paper will follow in short order.   


Theorizing Regulatory Governance Within its Ecology: The Structure of Management in an Age of Globalization
Larry Catá Backer
Workshop on Regulatory Governance at the Department of Business and Politics
Copenhagen Business School
Copenhagen, Denmark
February 4-5, 2016

ABSTRACT: Regulatory governance is sometimes seen as a thing apart, as another framework within which individuals, and productive forces, may be managed, and through which the institutions of a governance apparatus can be legitimated and deployed. It is a technique—replacing the command imperative of law with the sensibilities of management. It is a form of public government (democratic or party-state)—expanding the administrative possibilities of democratic government. It is the normative expression of self constituting private power within non governmental organizations. It is active, reflexive and reactive. It constitutes its own forms of power and resistance to power. It exists simultaneously within the same physical space. But regulatory governance also poses a number of important fundamental ordering questions, touching on issues of aggregation (regulatory governance and its connection to the ecologies of globalization), disaggregation (distilling the complex interactions that together produce the sustainable habitat for global regulatory governance), coherence (a centered or anarchic ecology), sustainability (systemicity and autonomy) and ideology (regulatory governance as instrument or as typology). This paper considers these questions. Its thesis is this: Regulatory governance is a normative system with its own ecology, a set of normative values and procedural constraints that serve both to structure the internal workings of each regulatory governance order and the relationships and interactions—the structural couplings of regulatory governance in those spaces in which they meet, intermesh, and conflict. The rules of these interactions represents the new constitutional law of regulatory governance systems (and the apparatus through which they are activated); the rules of governance interactions represents the new international law of regulatory governance systems (through which they engage with each other within the global orders). These new orders hold together and constrain the emerging structures of power. But they also challenge the fundamental ordering basis on which the contemporary order rests—sovereignty, democratic representation, classical separation of powers, the separation of public and private orders, and the traditional separation of powers. Part I identifies the ecology within which regulatory governance arises. The context is Bangladesh and its garment industry. This provides a basis in fact for extracting insights that may transcend the facts form which they are drawn. Part II then seeks to theorize the meta structures of regulatory governance within this ecology.


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