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The Politics of Transparency: markets, voluntarism, and illusory consensus

Prof. Christina Garsten
Associate Professor, Research Director, Social Anthropology, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE)

Date: 16 October 2007
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
: CARR Seminar Room, H615


Increasingly, attempts to regulate presuppose the existence or at least the possibility of consensus, rather than conflict. The trends towards juridification and moralization of political life means that political conflicts are transformed into either legal or moral frameworks, processes by which conflictual relationships are increasingly transformed into consensual relationships. The move towards post-political regulation also involves greater space for market forces to operate. Regulatory codes generally work by way of voluntary engagement of partners, built on a general appreciation of market forces rather than mandatory state force in the regulation of business. The absence of the political is also due to the liberal, market-oriented thinking. It has been argued that liberalism can only oscillate between ethics and economics and is bound to miss the specificity of the political. In this perspective, both moralization and marketization fill a truly de-politicizing function.

About the speaker

Professor Garsten's research interests are in the anthropology of organizations and markets, processes of globalization and emerging forms of regulation and accountability in the labour market and in transnational trade. She has published a number of articles on high-tech organizational culture, the flexibilization of employment, and corporate social responsibility.