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Comity: Multilaterism in the New Cold War

Speaker: Frank Vibert (LSE)

Discussant: Nick Sitter (Central European University)

Tuesday, 2 November, 1-2pm, via Zoom

To mark the launch of his new book, Frank Vibert explores the implications of the critical new juncture where globalisation is in retreat and global norms of behaviour are not converging. Building on the notion of comity, this seminar explores ways in which democracies cooperate to make rules for themselves that can be extended to others, and what implications arise from this form of rule-making for our understandings of legitimacy. 


Transboundary Crisis Management in Europe in Wake of COVID 19 | LSE Online Event, 14 May 2020

What are the emerging lessons for political crisis leadership? What can we say about the resilience of liberal democratic political systems? And what lessons can be drawn for multi-level crisis management? Watch Here


  • Distributed Ledgers, Distributed Institutions? 
    Mike Power (LSE) & Paolo Quattrone (Edinburgh & Oxford) 
    Date: 16th December 2019 
    Time: 10am-8pm
  • Climate Change Adaptation: Principles and Policies for Funding a Slow Motion Catastrophe
    Jonathan Boston (Victoria University of Wellington)

    Date: 19th November 2019
    Time: 1-2.30pm 
    Location: CON 7.05, Connaught House, LSE
  • How auditing can be directed against corruption: The case of Brazil’s municipality-facing auditing programme
    Sergio N Seabra (Blavatknik School of Government, Oxford) and Michael Barzelay (LSE)

    Date: 30th October 2019
    Time: 2-3.30pm 
    Location: LRB5.05, Lionel Robbins Building, LSE
  • The Language and Structure of Rules: Measuring Textual Complexity in Bank Regulation 
    Zahid Amadxarif; James Brookes; Nic Garbarino; Rajan Patel; and Eryk Walczak (Bank of England)

    Date: 24th September 2019
    Time: 1-2.30pm 
    Location: Vera Anstey Room, Old Building, LSE
  • Global Indicators of Regulatory Govennance
    Valentina Saltane
     (World Bank) 
    Date: 14 May 2019
    Time: 1 pm 
    Location: Graham Wallace Room at LSE
  • Rethinking Gaming: The Ethical Work of Optimization in Web Search Engines
    Malte Ziewitz
    Date: 28 March 2019
    Time: 3 - 4:30 pm 
    Location: OLD 3.21 at LSE
  • Information-based regulatory alternatives: a longitude study of the food hygiene ratings scheme 
    Panos Panagiotis
     (Queen Mary) and Frances Bowen (UEA) 
    Date: 5 March 2019
    Time: 1 pm 
    Location: CON 7.05 at LSE

2017 - 18




  • Empirical Analysis of Risk Culture in Financial Institutions: Interim Report
    Elizabeth Sheedy, Macquarie University
    Date: 17 December 2014
    Time: 1.00-2.00pm
    Venue: KSW 3.01

  • ESRC Seminar Series: ‘Regulation in Crisis?’
    Date: 12 December 2014
    This seminar will be the first of a set of seminars over the coming three years and will bring together different academic and practitioner perspectives. The discussion will centre on three central questions: a) ‘regulation in sectors in crisis?’, b) ‘regulatory instruments in crisis?’, and c) ‘regulation as a field of study in crisis?’.

  • Nudging or shoving: government-sponsored voluntary regulation
    Dr Christopher Decker, Oxford University
    Date: 25 November 2014
    Time: 1.00-2.30pm
    Venue: NAB 1.14

  • Transforming the UK Energy System: Public Values Attitudes and Acceptability
    Professor Nick Pidgeon, Cardiff University
    Date: 11 November 2014
    Time: 1.00-2.30pm
    Venue: KSW 3.01

  • Can Experts be Trusted and what can be done about it? Insights from the Biases and Heuristics Literature
    Professor Oren Perez, Bar-Ilan University
    Date: 14 October 2014
    Time: 1.00-2.30pm
    Venue: KSW 3.01

  • From Ecology to Inertia? The practice, performance and polysemy of ‘resilience’
    Professor Pete Fussey, University of Essex
    Date: 24 June 2014
    Venue: KSW 3.04
    Time: 1.00-2.30pm 


    With long histories of use within psychology and the biosciences concepts of ‘resilience’ are far from new. However, recent years have seen a proliferation of resilience discourses alongside their institution within a range of policy environments. Drawing on empirical data and engaging with rapidly emerging critical scholarship on the issue, this paper examines the spread and evolution of resilience policy and practice over recent years. In doing so, the paper questions the suitability of profligate applications of the concept and identifies how, despite appearances, resilience practices are often woven with very specific and established themes. These in turn may be considered to reproduce a range of existing path dependencies, practices and outcomes which ultimately threaten to subvert the original transformative goals of ‘resilience’.

    About the speaker

    Professor Fussey is professor of sociology at the University of Essex. He is a criminologist specialising in a number of areas including terrorism and counter-terrorism, critical studies of resilience, major-event security, surveillance and society, organized crime and urban sociology. Professor Fussey has published extensively in these areas and is currently working on two large-scale ESRC and EPSRC funded research projects looking at counter-terrorism in the UK’s crowded spaces and at the future urban resilience until 2050. His other work focuses on organised crime in the EU with particular reference to human trafficking for criminal exploitation (monograph due to be published by Routledge in 2014). Recent books include Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City (Ashgate) and Terrorism and the Olympics (Routledge).

  • A New Approach to the Comparative Study of US and European Regulatory Regimes
    Dr Brendon Swedlow, Northern Illinois University
    Date: 11 June 2014
    Venue: KSW 3.04
    Time: 1.00-2.30pm

  • Selective Performance Response: The Effect of Salient Reputational Threats on Public Agency Outputs
    Professor Moshe Maor, Jerusalem University
    Date: 29 May 2014
    Venue: Graham Wallas Room
    Time: 6.00 -7.00pm

  • Infrastructures of control: Sales Incentives and the Accidental Architecture of measures in Banking
    Dr Zsuzsanna Vargha, University of Leicester School of Management
    Date: 25 February 2014
    Time: 2.00 - 3.30pm
    Venue: CON.7.03


    Misaligned incentives for bankers have taken center stage in public and academic discussions of the recent crisis. Taking a theoretical look this paper asks, just how do financial incentives come to exert their (beneficial or undesired) effects in practice? I bring evidence from an ethnographic study of two cases where banks relied on the conventional method of financial incentives to generate selling: a bonus system at a large bank, and pure commission at a Multi-Level Marketing firm. But both firms struggled to make their representatives react to financial reward. This is what the paper explains. The reason, however, was not merely the non-financial motives of employees, the wrong reward scheme, or the wrong measures, as is frequently argued. Rather, the financial incentive had no cognitive effect without an infrastructure that could capture the “point of sale” and deliver it as performance to be rewarded.

    The paper identifies the process by which the original financial incentive is gradually transformed into a series of non-financial incentives, ultimately focused on measuring not performance but the use of the documenting technology that was instituted to measure performance. Financial incentivization was successful, and selling ensued only after achieving measurability, through an amalgamation of multiple modes of control. The findings are based on intensive fieldwork (observation and interviews) at Hungarian financial firms during the pre-crisis expansion, now associated with the rise of a large sales force. The episodes discussed shed light on the contingent infrastructures of control that enable financial incentives to operate in practice, and contribute to mapping the relationship between different modes of control.

    About the speaker 

    Zsuzsanna Vargha is Lecturer at the School of Management, University of Leicester and an LSE CARR Research Associate. Zsuzsanna received her PhD in Sociology from Columbia University; she was LSE Fellow at the LSE Department of Accounting and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. Zsuzsanna’s research interests lie at the intersection of accounting, finance and marketing, using theories and methods from economic sociology. Current topics include everyday risk work; the regulation, management control and process of financial advice; the history of the Hungarian mortgage crisis; the history of Agency Theory; and the accounting information systems of financial regulation.

  • Economic Effects of Emergency Risk Communication: Evidence from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster
    Dr Hiroaki Matsuura, Oxford University
    Date: 21 January 2014
    Time: 1:00 - 2.30pm
    Venue: Graham Wallas Room


    A tremendous amount of radioactive products were discharged as a result of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, which resulted in radioactive contamination of the plant and surrounding areas. When describing the geographical distribution of radioactive contamination, the government, media, and other organizations largely used administrative boundaries (prefectures, municipalities etc.) or distance from the radiation source as a reference. I examine how this sometimes misleading information about risks, as opposed to the actual risks of radiation, significantly and negatively affected land prices in locations near the plant. I find that the prefecture border effects – but neither the distance effect from the nuclear power plant nor the effect of the actual risk of radiation – are significantly related to a reduction in land price after the accident. This is to say that, even with the absence of the actual risk of radiation, the land price in Fukushima and its three adjacent prefectures has declined more rapidly than that in other prefectures of Japan after the accident. Although health risk information based on prefecture has an obvious advantage of distilling large and complex risk information into a simple one, the government, media, and other organizations need to recognize and carefully examine the potential of misclassifying non-contaminated areas into contaminated prefectures. Doing so will avoid unintentional consequences to the region’s economy.

    About the speaker

    Hiroaki Matsuura is currently Departmental Lecturer in the Economy of Japan in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford and a Junior Research Fellow of St. Antony’s College. His main interests are  health economics and demography, with a special interest in the relation between laws and population health. His doctoral dissertation research explores a right to health or to health care in national constitutions of 157 countries and state constitutions of the 50 U.S. states and estimates the impact of introducing (or removing) a right to health or to health care into national and state constitutions on health system and population health outcomes. His most recent article, “The Right to Health in Japan: Challenges of a Super Aging Society and Implication from Its 2011 Public Health Emergency” (with Eriko Sase) will appear in “Advancing the Human Right to Health”, edited by José M. Zuniga, Stephen P. Marks, and Lawrence O. Gostin, Oxford University Press, 2013.


  • Forging the future. The origins and spread of predictive expertise
    Dr Jenny Andersson, Sciences Po
    Date: 3 December 2013
    TIme: 1:00pm-2.30pm
    Venue: KSW.3.01


    The talk will explore the origins of a set of key predictive technologies at the American RAND Corporation in the immediate post war period, hereby making a number of reflections on what prediction is and its role in social science as well as in political life. I propose that predictive claims are different from other knowledge claims in that they do not pretend to accurately represent the social world, but rather, to have an active bearing on it. In particular, I study the invention of the so called Delphi method of forecasting, and the way this tool spread from its military context at RAND into central processes of economic and social decision making in the US in the 1960 and 1970s, and in addition, the way that Delphi also made its way into key processes of corporate and global governance on the transnational and global level. I argue that this process was central in the creation of something that we can call a market for prediction, in which actor-experts brand and sell their predictive tools as part of a struggle for influence over world order. 

    About the speaker

    Jenny Andersson is a senior researcher of the French research council CNRS and a fellow of the Center for European Studies at Sciences po. She currently directs the research project Futurepol. A political history of the future. Knowledge production and future governance in the post war period, funded by the European Research Council ERC. 

  • Reactivity and reactions to regulatory transparency in medicine, psychotherapy and counselling
    Prof. Gerry McGivern, Warwick Business School
    Date: 19 November 2013
    Time: 1:00pm- 2:30pm
    Venue: KSW.3.01


    We explore how doctors, psychotherapists and counsellors in the UK react to regulatory transparency, drawing on qualitative research involving 51 semi-structured interviews conducted during 2008e10. We use the concept of ‘reactivity mechanisms’ (Espeland & Sauder, 2007) to explain how regulatory transparency disrupts practices through simplifying and decontextualizing them, altering practitioners’ reflexivity, leading to defensive forms of practice. We make an empirical contribution by exploring the impact of transparency on doctors compared with psychotherapists and counsellors, who represent an extreme case due to their uniquely complex practice, which is particularly affected by this form of regulation. We make a contribution to knowledge by developing a model of reactivity mechanisms, which explains how clinical professionals make sense of media and professional narratives about regulation in ways that produce emotional reactions and, in turn, defensive reactivity to transparency.

    About the speaker

    Gerry McGivern is Professor of Organisational Analysis at Warwick Business School. His research has examined the introduction of appraisal and revalidation for NHS consultants, health care managers' use of knowledge and evidence , networks in health care (from which he published 'Making Wicked Problems Governable: The Case of Managed Networks in Health Care', Oxford University Press, 2013), and the effects of transparent regulation in medicine, psychotherapy and counselling on professional practice.  Gerry will discuss this last study and a paper he published from it in Social Science and Medicine.

  • Risk Culture in financial organisations 
    Prof Mike Power and Dr Tommaso Palermo, LSE
    Date: 5 November 2013
    Time: 1.00pm- 2.30pm
    Venue: KSW.3.01

    Abstract for CARR presentation

    Interest in the culture of organisations in financial services has increased dramatically in recent years and many reports point to failures of culture in large institutions.  Furthermore, a new twist in the vocabulary of culture has taken place and companies, advisors and regulators now seem to have a specific focus on something called risk culture.

    What is this new object which features so prominently in discussions about financial regulation? Is it a single thing or does it have many faces? How do companies understand and operationalise it? Do they do this in similar ways? How do financial regulators influence conceptions of risk culture? Is the demand to improve risk culture at all coherent? Can it – whatever it is – be consciously managed? Is it auditable? Is there a single desirable risk culture or are there diverse and plural approaches? If so, are there any limits to this diversity?

    Our research provides some answers to these questions based on investigations over a period of 18 months. It shows how organisations are grappling with several trade-offs as they seek to address their risk cultures. These trade-offs provide a way of framing some of the challenges that CROs, CEOs and Boards need to consider: for instance, should financial organisations promote informal network building or formal processes? Pursue internal change or use advisors? Co-operate or resist to regulatory pressures? 

    The prescriptions arising from the research suggest that risk culture is a not a thing or discrete management object.  Rather financial organisations need to recover the capability to make visible and understand a series of key trade-offs and tensions involved in the positioning of the risk function.

    The full report can be obtained here

    The research team

    Michael Power is Professor of Accounting and Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) at the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), an Associate member of the UK Chartered Institute of Taxation and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management. Since May 2005 he has been a non-executive Director of St James’s Place plc where he is chair of the risk committee. Power holds an honorary doctorate in Economics from the University of St Gallen, Switzerland and an Honorary Doctorate in Social Science from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. His research and teaching focuses on regulation, accounting, auditing, internal control and risk management. His major work, The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification (Oxford 1997) has been translated into Italian, Japanese and French. Organised Uncertainty: Designing a World of Risk Management (Oxford 2007) has been translated into Japanese. He has given evidence to both the UK Treasury Committee and the House of Lords Economic affairs committee regarding the role of auditors. Email:  

    Simon Ashby is Associate Professor in Financial Services at the Plymouth Business School and Head of the Accounting and Finance Discipline Group. Prior to this he was a Lecturer in Risk Management at Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Nottingham, a regulator (writing policy on risk management at the UK Financial Services Authority), and a practicing risk manager in a number of large and small banks. Simon has a PhD in corporate risk management and has published many academic papers in respected journals (e.g. British Journal of Industrial Relations, Geneva Papers, Safety Science, Risk, Decision and Policy), book chapters, professional articles and industry reports in the fields of risk management and financial services. This recently included a major study into the causes of the financial crisis and the risk management lessons that need to be learned (Picking up the Pieces: Risk Management in a PostCrisis World). Simon remains actively involved in the financial services sector and is a Fellow and the Chairman-Elect of the Institute of Operational Risk. Email:   

    Tommaso Palermo is a Lecturer at the London School of Economics – Department of Accounting. Tommaso has a PhD in Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering (Politecnico di Milano, Italy). His research and teaching focuses on the roles and uses of management control systems, the relation between risk management and performance management, and management accounting innovations in the public sector. Email:    

  • Regulating Public Ethics
    Dr Gillian Peele, Oxford University
    Date: 4 June
    Time:1pm - 2.30pm, KSW 3.01


    The last twenty years has seen a major growth in the scope of ethical regulation in British public life. Much of this growth and development has been the result of the work of a small body the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Although not itself a direct regulator, its reports have prompted the creation of new regulatory bodies in different sectors of the political system and its monitoring activities have produced a series of health checks on ethical standards throughout the public sector. The first part of the paper looks at the whole area of ethical regulation and asks what is distinctive (and problematic )about it in terms of subject matter, design, implementation and accountability. The second part of the paper looks at the changing role of the CSPL and raises questions about the likely future of ethical regulation in the current political and administrative climate. 

    About the speaker

    Gillian Peele is Fellow and Tutor in Politics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is the author of many books and articles on British and American government and politics. She has published on conflict of interest in relation to both the United Kingdom and in comparative context. She is currently finishing a study of ethical regulation in the United Kingdom with David Hine.
  • Private Actors in the Public Security Domain – The Case of Anti-Money Laundering
    Dr Karin Svedberg Helgesson, Stockholm School of Economics
    Prof Ulrika Mörth, Stockholm University
    Date: 19 March
    Time: 1pm - 2.30pm, KSW 3.01


    In this presentation, Karin Svedberg Helgesson and Ulrika Mörth will theorize on anti-money laundering (AML) within the private sector and across organizations by drawing concepts and novel theories from two strands of literature – security/governance studies and management/organization studies. The risk-based approach adopted in regulations by the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and in European Union Directives has forced banks, accountants and lawyers to assist and support law enforcement agencies.  Helgesson and Mörth argue that the emergence of this new public security domain cutting across the public-private divide can be explained by two broad political and economic changes: securitization and publicization.

    Securitization is here understood as a multifaceted social practice that rests on three assumptions: ‘the centrality of audience’, ‘the co-dependency of agency and context’, and ‘the structuring force of the dispositif, that is a constellation of practices and tools’ (Balzacq 2011). The ‘centrality of audience’ or the empowered elite that pushes for the securitization of the financial sector is easily identified. However, in the context of AML the securitization process is complicated by the fact that private actors are simultaneously the prospective agents of securitization as well as the audience of such attempts. In line with Balzacq, Helgesson and Mörth argue that the conceptualization of security depends on the political, cultural and historical context (‘the co-dependency of agency and context’). In the case of AML this interplay is particularly salient when one analyses the relationship between public and private actors in their dual role as audience and agents. How do private actors interpret the security discourse of public actors? Drawing from various case studies on AML, the banking sector and law firms in Sweden, France and the UK, the speakers show that private actors interpret EU directives on AML in quite different ways. Depending on how they view their role in society, private actors handle the pressure from public actors by either complying, or by arguing that compliance goes against the rule of law. The third of Balzacq’s assumptions, the importance of practices in processes of securitization, is evident in the case of AML. The most immediate manifestation of these practices is the way the banking sector and law firms reorganize and construct new procedures in order to comply with EU directives. In doing so, they follow classic strategies of legitimization. Furthermore, the creation of new professionals is closely linked to the instrumentation of securitization through certain devices. One case in point is how pre-crime devices are used for tracing suspicious transactions (computerized due-diligence systems) and/or the beneficial owner (the World Check database).

    This and other manifestations of securitization are contingent on the increasing publicization of corporations (Svedberg Helgesson & Mörth 2013).  The requirements from the securitization process – traceability, profiling and other alert systems to trace ‘dirty money’ – have had cognitive and organizational resonance due to NPM reforms and the way corporations have been expected to take on a political role in society (Scherer & Palazzo 2011).


    Balzacq, T (ed) (2011) Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Dissolve, London: Routledge.

    Helgesson, K Svedberg and Ulrika Mörth (eds) (2012), Securitization, Accountability and Risk Management – Transforming the Public Security Domain, London: Routledge.

    Helgesson, K Svedberg and Ulrika Mörth (eds) (2013), The Political Role of Corporate Citizens. An Interdisciplinary Approach, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Scherer, G and G. Palazzo (2011), “The New Political Role of Business in a Globalized World”, Journal of Management Studies, 48, 4:899-931.

    About the speakers

    Karin Svedberg Helgesson is Research Associate Professor at the Department of Management and Organization, Stockholm School of Economics. She has previously studied New Public Management Reforms, soft regulation and corporate accountability in various contexts. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Common Market StudiesNordiske OrganisajonsstudierOrganization Studies, and Surveillance & Society. A current research interest is the role of private actors in the public domain, as reflected in the volume Securitization, Accountability and Risk Management: Transforming the Public Security Domain (Routledge, 2012), co-edited with Ulrika Mörth.

    Ulrika Mörth is Professor in Political Science at the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University. She has published several books including Organizing European Cooperation, Soft Law in Governance and Regulation, European Public-Private Collaboration.  Her research has appeared in the Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy and Governance. Her most recent publications are the co-edited volumes Democracy and Public-Private Partnerships in Global Governance(Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and Securitization, Accountability and Risk Management: Transforming the Public Security Domain (Routledge, 2012), with Karin Svedberg Helgesson.

  • Markets as intrepretations systems
    Dr Laure Cabantous, Warwick Business School
    Prof Paula Jarzabkowski, Cornell University and Aston University
    Dr Rebecca Bednarek, Aston University
    Date: 5 March
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01


    Organization scholars and sociologists have developed a rich array of insights about how markets function, and shown that organizational actors enact the market environment in which they operate. Not enough attention, however, has been devoted to the interpretative dimension of markets and to role of organizational interpretative processes in market functioning. In this paper, we examine the functioning of the global reinsurance market – the insurance market for insurance companies – drawing on the interpretative literature in management to offer a renewed conceptualization of markets as meta-interpretation systems. This paper thus contributes to the development of a more comprehensive approach to the functioning of market that extends prior conceptualizations of markets as socially constructed, or enacted. In doing so, this paper broadens the reach of sensemaking and interpretation studies beyond the scope of organizational boundaries. The paper also contributes to the sensemaking literature by documenting ordinary sensemaking and by linking interpretation activities to organizational routines. Finally, the paper complements existing sociological studies on market functioning by revealing the organizational and interpretative basis of markets.

    About the speakers

    Paula Jarzabkowski is a Professor of Strategic Management at Aston University and, from 2012-2014, holds an EU Marie Curie Fellowship at Cornell University. Paula’s research focuses on strategy-as-practice in complex and pluralistic contexts, such as regulated infrastructure firms, third sector organizations and financial services, particularly insurance and reinsurance. She focuses primarily on qualitative and ethnographic research methods as a means of studying business problems. In this endeavour, she has been fortunate in winning a series of prestigious fellowships that have enabled her to conduct detailed ethnographic studies in different industries. For example, in 2006-2007, funded by an AIM Ghoshal Fellowship, she conducted an audio-ethnographic longitudinal study of the paradoxical tensions involved in implementing a major strategic shift in a regulated telecommunications firm. From 2009-2012, she held the inaugural Insurance Intellectual Capital Initiative (IICI) fellowship, under which she and her research team conducted a 3-year audio and video ethnography of the global reinsurance market, which extended her skills from organisational to industry-level ethnography.  She 'enjoys' the challenge of publishing such work in leading journals. Her work has appeared in a number of such journals including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies and in 2005, she published the first book on strategy-as-practice, Strategy as Practice: An Activity-Based Approach (Sage). 

    Rebecca Bednarek is a Research Fellow at Aston University. Her research interests include organizational legitimacy and strategizing within pluralistic contexts, and draws from practice, paradox and institutional perspectives. She has conducted research into the knowledge intensive science and reinsurance sectors, using qualitative and ethnographic methods. She is currently part of a research team exploring market functioning and the socio-material nature of financial risk-taking within the reinsurance industry.

    Dr. Laure Cabantous is Associate Professor in the Strategy and International Business Group at Warwick Business School. Her research agenda is organized around two core questions: (1) how do theories – and in particular economic theory – influence practice; (2) how organizational actors' cognition shapes their choices. She has a specific interest for the (re)insurance industry and decision-making under uncertainty. Laure holds a PhD in Economics from the Toulouse School of Economics (University of Toulouse, France, 2006), and is a former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Cachan). She visited the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Center during the Summer 2007 (Fulbright Fellowship) to pursue her research on the impact of ambiguity and conflicting expertise on insurance pricing. Her research has been published in reviews such as Organization Science, Organization Studies, the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, the Journal of Behavioral Decision-Making, Theory and Decision.

  • Modern disinhibitions: a history of technological risk
    Dr Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, Imperial College
    Date: 12 February
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01


    Nineteenth-century technological modernization did not occur in a fog of unconsciousness or a modernist frenzy. The men who accomplished and lived through the industrial revolution were clearly “conscious” of the gigantic uncertainty produced by their technological choices, and they knowingly chose to go ahead regardless. So not only have we never been modern (Bruno Latour), but we have also always known this. From the perspective of historical writing, the postmodern narrative of "reflexive modernization" (Ulrich Beck) thus has the disadvantage of writing off the past experience of our technoscientific situation. By obliterating the reflexivity of past societies, that narrative depoliticizes the long history of environmental destruction and, conversely, by concentrating on our own reflexivity, it tends to naturalize our ecological concern.

    About the speaker

    Dr Jean-Baptiste Fressoz is a historian of science, technology and the environment. He has worked on the history of risk regulation in France and Britain in the 18th and 19th Centuries. He is currently working on two projects: a political history of climatic knowledge in the 18th and 19th Century; and a history of the practices of forecasting and creating futures (time preference, net present value, material fatigue, resource modelling). He is also the author of L'Apocalypse joyeuse, une histoire du risque technologique, Paris, Le Seuil, 2012., Paris, Le Seuil, 2012.

  • Producing Risk: Assessing, Materialising and Performing Disaster From Nuclear War to All Hazards
    Dr Joe Devile and Dr Michael Guggenheim
    Date: 29 January
    Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm, KSW 3.01


    Recent discourses on risk have focused on the question of the relationship between preparedness and knowledge, with a particular focus on the role and feasibility of calculation in relation to seemingly incalculable threats (e.g. Beck 1992, Collier 2008, Ericson and Doyle 2004). In their talk, Joe Deville and Michael Guggenheim focus on one such threat: nuclear war. However, rather than taking a particular threat as given, and proceeding to analyse responses to that threat, they look at how risks are produced. Risk production, in their terms, refers to a generic process of transforming uncertainty and danger into an object of thought, analysis and management, as well as quite simply, into things. Crucially, drawing on Luhmann, Deville and Guggenheim argue that this needs to be understood in relation to how risk production becomes entangled with the attribution of decisions. They compare how two countries—the UK and Switzerland—produced risk across a period ranging from 1970 to the present. By distinguishing between different ways of producing risk, they show that during the cold war, both Switzerland and the UK did not calculate between risks. Rather, they both produced a singular risk, namely nuclear war, but in different ways. Deville and Guggenheim then show how these different kinds of nuclear risk production have a direct impact on the forms risk later takes and how all hazards approaches to dealing with risk must be understood not as generic practices, but rather as contingent answers to different kinds of risk production. 

    About the speakers

    Joe Deville is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP). In 2011 he completed his PhD titled 'The Landscape of Consumer Credit Default: Tracing Technologies of Market Attachment'. He was also a visiting scholar at the Centre on Organizational Innovation at Columbia University from January to March 2009. Further, at Goldsmiths, he has worked as a researcher at the Centre for Urban and Community Research and has taught in both the sociology department and the department of Professional and Community Education (PACE). Joe Deville’s research interests cluster around the sociology of expertise, economic sociology, science and technology studies, and non-representational theory.

    Michael Guggenheim is Project Lead for the ERC Starting Grant ‘Organising Disaster: Civil Protection and the Population.’ A sociologist, his work has focused on the relationship between experts and lay people, the role of objects for this relationship and on methodical and theoretical innovation derived from the combination of science studies with sociological theory. Previously, he has worked on change of use of buildings and how materiality and use interrelate. Before that he studied environmental experts. He also works with colleagues Bernd Kräftner and Judith Kröll on an approach they call ‘incubation’ that combines sociology, STS and art. Currently they are working on a project ‘In the Event of... Anticipatory and Participatory Politics of Emergency Provision.’ Previously, he was a co-curator of ‘die wahr/falsch inc.’, an exhibition on science and the public in Vienna.


  • Japan's 'Safety Blanket' of Flu Mask Wearing
    Dr Adam Burgess
    University of Kent
    Date: 11 December
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01


    In this seminar we examine a micro level risk behaviour that appears nationally specific: the distinctive Japanese practice of wearing flu masks. The behaviour is interesting as it appears detached from the hazard against which it ostensibly offers protection, having now become routinely worn by at least a proportion of the population. Based on historical and survey research in Tokyo we consider the actual extent of usage and its social meaning, and analyse the various pressures that have encouraged its normalisation.

    About the speaker

    Adam Burgess is Reader in Social Risk Research at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent and is a CARR research fellow.

  • Blind watchmen: the value of strategic ignorance at the FDA
    Dr Linsey McGoey
    University of Essex
    Date: 13 November
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01


    In 2012, the New York Times reported that the FDA had conducted an extensive surveillance operation of scientists working at the FDA, drawing up what the Times called an "enemies list" of its own staff in order to suppress criticism of the agency's drug review processes. At first glance, the FDA's surveillance techniques are a clear reflection of Weber's definition of bureaucratic rationality as "the exercise of control on the basis of knowledge." But a closer examination of recent FDA controversies reveals a more complex picture. In this paper, drawing on interviews with FDA staff, I suggest that FDA officials deliberately harnessed their own ignorance in order to review drugs swiftly in the face of industry and public concerns over the sluggish pace of drug approvals. In the case of Vioxx, Avandia, and bestselling antidepressants such as Prozac, staff would often compete over who could prove to have the least knowledge of the risk-benefit profile of a new drug, pointing to ambiguity over drug effectiveness in order to hasten drugs to market or to lobby for their removal. In contrast to Weberian and Foucauldian emphases of the links between knowledge and power, I argue that strategic ignorance - the effort to find creative ways of deterring knowledge from emerging in the first place - is an underappreciated mainstay of regulatory authority. For obvious motivations, the social sciences have placed a premium on their main currency – knowledge itself – at the expense of appreciating the value of ignorance as a political and economic asset.

    About the speaker

    Dr. McGoey moved to Essex after a PhD in Sociology at LSE’s BIOS centre, followed by an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography, and a James Martin fellowship in science and technology studies at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, based at the Said Business School, University of Oxford. Dr. McGoey's research is focused on three broad areas. First, the sociology of ignorance and the usefulness of strategic unknowns in asserting expertise, evading liability and consolidating authority in daily and organizational life. Second, the politics of “philanthrocapitalism,” and a study of how new philanthropic players such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are reshaping the fields of global health and education delivery in US and global contexts, often with unintended or unspoken consequences. Finally, a third, nascent project is focused on the politics of abundance, exploring how a range of theorists, from Sen to Bataille, have reconfigured notions of scarcity, excess and surplus wealth.

  • Risk and denials: exploring energy risk possibilities and probabilities from 1945 to 2012
    Professor Charles Perrow
    Yale University
    Date: 20 September
    Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm


    Nuclear denials parallel other denials such as climate change and the link between smoking and cancer, aligning state and corporate interests. The US and the Soviet Union utilized denial and secrecy with respect to radiation damages from atomic bombs, bomb factories, and nuclear power plants in order to legitimate the bomb and its bad seed, nuclear power plants. When obvious damages unmasked denial and secrecy, risk analysis was employed. Probability Risk Analysis ignored possibilities, and favoured probabilities, which were always found to be low.  Since they were not zero, the risk analysis trope blamed the victims for their lifestyles or unreasonable fears, with terms such as “radiophobia” accounting for morbidity and mortality.  These dynamics are emerging in Fukushima where the radiation effects are said to be trivial but the psychological effects potentially deadly.  Powerful state and corporate interests are involved in this social construction of risk.

    About the speaker

    Charles Perrow is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Yale University. An organisational theorist, he is the author of six books, including the award winning Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies (1984; revised, 1999), award winning The AIDS Disaster: The Failure of Organisations in New York and the Nation (1990) with Mauro Guillen, award winning Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of American Capitalism (2002) and over 50 articles. His interests include the development of bureaucracy in the 19th Century; the radical movements of the 1960s; Marxian theories of industrialisation and of contemporary crises; accidents in such high risk systems as nuclear plants, air transport, DNA research and chemical plants; protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure; the prospects for democratic work organisations; and the origins of U.S. capitalism.

  • What's political about risk? New challenges in the study of risk
    Professor Olivier Borraz
    Sciences Po, Paris
    Date: 15 May 
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, OLD 3.21 


    Amidst the numerous social science studies of risk published over the last 40 years, few have actually addressed the political meaning of risk. Focusing on public perceptions, sociotechnical controversies or the instrumentation of risk, these studies rarely put the notion and its uses in perspective. In other words, they offered little insights on why and how the notion had emerged and gained widespread success, and what it actually meant for the different organisations and groups mobilising it. To take the political meaning of risk seriously, however, implies addressing two sets of difficulties. The first has to do with the lack of empirical data on the emergence and uses of the notion of risk in different political, cultural and institutional settings; not only a lack of comparative studies, but also of in-depth empirical studies and broad surveys linking the mobilisation and meaning of risk with distinct social contexts. The second set of difficulty arises from the fact that the emergence and success of risk discourses are embedded it two distinct, albeit interrelated, historical processes: transformations in the social fabric that involve greater vulnerability for individuals and groups; the shift from government to governance and the need to account for the limits of the latter. The notion of risk highlights, but more importantly has become a vector of change in, these two processes.

    About the speaker

    Olivier Borraz is CNRS research professor at the Center for the Sociology of Organizations (CSO) at Sciences Po in Paris. His research relates to risk in various fields of environmental health: he published his results in Les politiques du risque (2008, Presses de Sciences Po). More recently, he has taken an interest in non-emerging risks, crisis management and preparedness as sites of State transformation, and the contribution of social sciences to risk analysis. He heads the Risk governance program of the CSO, the Risk governance concentration in the Master of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, and teaches several courses on risk in the bachelor and masters programs in Sciences Po. He sits on the scientific council of the French health safety agency (Anses) as representative of the social sciences.

  • How to cope with a terrorist attack? Challenges to political and administrative leadership
    Professor Tom Christensen
    University of Oslo, Norway
    Date: 1 May
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01 


    When the terrorist struck in Oslo July 22, 2011, some of the central ministries were destroyed and many young people killed eventually at a summer camp. In the hours, days and weeks after the attack the political and administrative leadership has struggled to cope with the effects of the attacks. Overall, the political leadership and in particular the PM has been praised for its reactions and handling, while the most involved public organization, the police and its leadership, has been criticized for what they did or did not do when it all happened and for its handling afterwards.
    Organization for crisis management and internal security is a typical 'wicked issue' that transcends organizations, policy areas and administrative levels. A main hypothesis is that formal organization is a critical factor in understanding and managing risks and crises. But at the same time it is also emphasized in the crisis management literature that when a major disaster happens it is often necessary to supplement existing formal organizations with improvisation and temporary organizational arrangements.
    The point of departure in this paper is to describe the pattern of reaction and handling of the political and administrative leadership, describe their differentiated challenges and explain why their actions draw such differentiated reactions from the public, media and involved stake-holders. Has that something to do with that they play different roles, respectively a more general role for the political executive and a more specific and practical role for the police leadership? Or has this something to do with how they reacted initially when the terrorist attack happened? Descriptive crises management theories and explanatory instrumental and institutional theories are applied in order to understand the handling of the crisis.

    About the speaker

    Tom Christensen is Professor of Public Administration and Organization Theory at Department of Political Science, University of Oslo. He is also Adjunct Professor at University of Bergen and City University of Hong Kong. He has published extensively in journals like Public Administration, Governance, International Review of Administrative Sciences and American Review of Public Administration. His latest book, co-edited with Per Lægreid is The Ashgate Research Companion to New Public Management, Ashgate, 2011.

  • Robust Regulation in the Offshore Petroleum Industry - An Assessment of Different Approaches
    Professor Preben Lindøe
    University of Stavanger, Norway
    Date: 6 March
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01  


    In the 1970's and 1980's, major accidents at drilling platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf (Bravo 1977, Alexander Kielland 1980) and the UK shelf (Piper Alpha 1988) led the regulatory agencies in Norway and the UK to replace prescriptive regulation of offshore safety with a system of broader functional requirements and performance-based rules. In contrast, the US regulatory approach has remained essentially unchanged with a prescriptive regime and technically detailed standards embedded in the regulations. After the Macondo accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, a number of assessments, reports and conferences have been discussing a future approach for offshore risk regulation.
    The presentation summarizes and compares some of the key elements in this debate on the prevention of major offshore accidents in Norway, the UK and the US. The presentation combines (1) a historical perspective on major accidents, (2) a contextual perspective with economic-market, political-administrative-legal orientation, (3) an expert-professional perspective and (4) consideration for social-cultural values.
    Empirically, the analysis is based on a portfolio of research projects on the Norwegian and US approaches to technological change, safety management and regulation, a review of legal documentation from the countries studied and of key documents from the body of reports that followed the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

    About the speaker

    Preben. H. Lindøe is Professor of Societal Safety at the University of Stavanger, Norway. He has a master of science from Technical University of Trondheim and a PhD on implementation of "internal control" (Enforced self-regulation) in Norway. For a period of 20 years he has conducted applied research on subjects such as occupational health and safety and quality management. His current main areas of research are safety management and risk regulation regimes.

  • Ideals of governability in risk regulation. Or where do risk-based decision-making frameworks come from?
    Dr David Demortain
    IFRIS – University Paris-Est
    Date: 31 January
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01


    Characteristic of an era of risk regulation is the proliferation of managerial frameworks that describe the ideal ways of making decisions about risks - including public decisions. A team of Canadian officials counted as many as twenty such « risk management frameworks for human health and environmental risks » internationally (Jardine et al. 2003). Such frameworks capture the generic processes by which one can organise interventions on risk issues in a supposedly optimal and generally applicable way. They are generally designed by specialists of health and environmental risks, with expertise in natural sciences, decision sciences but also with regulatory experience. What are the political reasons for the prevalence of this attitude of modelling government and decision-making? A genealogy of one of the most famous and successful frameworks of this sort – the "risk analysis framework" put forward by the US National Research Council in 1983 –, undertaken with the historian of science Soraya Boudia, helps showing that they are less the consequence of a technocratic domination, than the perpetuation of ideals of governability originating in fields of expertise that span science, administration and industry.

    About the speaker 

    David Demortain is a political scientist with IFRIS (Université Paris-Est) and a CARR research associate. His research interests broadly concern the relationship between knowledge and regulation. He has worked on the shaping of international standards by collectives of scientific experts, and is now carrying out a study of the generic value of risk assessment as a regulatory instrument. His most recent publication is a book titled Scientists and the regulation of risk. Standardising control (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011).


  • The Transitional Objects of the Law
    Dr Javier Lezaun, Oxford University
    Date: 6 December
    Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm, KSW 3.01


    This paper discusses the fabrication and circulation of reference materials, a critical component of regulatory regimes that has received little attention from social scientists or legal scholars. Reference materials incarnate legally relevant measurements and give regulatory categories a material form. The paper is based on observations of the work of reference technicians at the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM), an establishment that, for more than 50 years, has produced the official version of the substances mentioned in EU law.

    About the speaker

    Javier Lezaun is James Martin Lecturer in Science and Technology Governance at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford. He was an ESRC Research Officer at CARR between 2003 and 2006. He is currently directing the research programme BioProperty: Biomedical Research and the Future of Property Rights, funded by the European Research Council.

  • "Regulating for Cybersecurity"
    Dr Ian Brown
    Oxford University
    Tuesday 22 November, 1.00 - 2.30pm, KSW 3.01


    Advanced economies are increasingly dependent on computing and communications technologies, yet the media is full of stories about viruses, hackers and other threats to the reliability of critical information systems. How significant are these risks? Is there a role for regulators in addressing them? What types of regulatory response are likely to be most effective?

    About the speaker

    Dr Brown is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University. He has written extensively on public policy issues around information and the Internet, particularly privacy, copyright and e-democracy. He has also worked in the more technical fields of information security, networking and healthcare informatics. In 2004 Dr Brown was voted as one of the 100 most influential people in the development of the Internet in the UK over the previous decade. In 2011 he co-authored with Prof. Peter Sommer a report on 'Reducing Systemic Cybersecurity Risk' for the OECD.

  • Business Compliance - Motivation and Capacity. Lessons from an Australian Research Project
    Dr Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen
    Aarhus University
    Tuesday 14 June, 1.00 - 2.30pm, OLD 3.21

    Abstract Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen presents the ‘ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) Enforcement and Compliance Project’ – its theoretical ambitions, methodology, data and empirical findings. The presentation puts together the findings and lessons from the ACCC-research project and relates it to the theoretical debate and the empirical findings within the literature on ‘business compliance’. The ACCC-research project was conducted with Christine Parker, University of Melbourne. About the speaker Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University. Her research and teaching focuses on regulatory enforcement, compliance, public implementation and street-level bureaucratic behaviour. Dr. Nielsen’s work has appeared in Regulation & Governance, Public Administration, Law & Policy and the Journal of Law & Society. Her article with Christine Parker ‘Testing Responsive Regulation in Regulatory Enforcement’ has received the prize for best article published in Regulation and Governance in 2009. She is also co-editor with Christine Parker of a book on Business Compliance, forthcoming in 2011.

  • "Models and the Evaluation of Risk Regulation Decision-Making."
    Dr Liz Fisher
    Oxford University
    Tuesday 15 March, 1.30-3pm, OLD 3.21

    Abstract Models are a ubiquitous feature of many risk regulation landscapes and often are the source of the rationale and basis of decision-making. Yet while the technical complexities and uncertainties of models are often charted in scholarship the role and implications of models in risk regulation decision-making are overlooked. Dr Fisher identified three other forms of complexity different from the technical complexity of models: institutional complexity; interdisciplinary complexity and evaluative complexity. She concentrates on the last of these by focusing on the challenges involved in evaluating models as part of general accountability processes such as judicial review. About the speaker Liz Fisher is a Reader in Environmental Law at Corpus Christi College and UL lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Oxford University. She researches in the area of environmental law, risk regulation and administrative law. Much of her work has explored the interrelationship between law, administration and regulatory problems. Her work has an important comparative dimension and she focuses in particular on these issues in the legal cultures of the UK, US, Australia, the EU, and the WTO. Her 2007 book, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism, won the SLS Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship.
  • "When Limited Liability was (still) an Issue - Conflicting Mobilizations in Nineteenth Century England."
    Professor Marie-Laure Djelic
    ESSEC Business School
    Tuesday 1 February, 1.00-2.30pm, KSW G108

    Abstract The corporation is a constitutive element of modern capitalism. In its contemporary form, the corporation comes with a striking legal feature – ownership is associated with limited liability. Today, we tend to take for granted both the principle of limited liability and its association with the corporate form. This was not always the case, though. In the 19th century still, the principle of limited liability generated heated discussions and was a locus of intense ‘contentious politics’. In this paper, we focus on the social movement dynamics that crystallized around the principle of limited liability in 19th century England. Interestingly, the debates that were raging then and there did not only have an economic focus. They also had significant social, political and even ethical dimensions. In the end, this episode of contentious politics proved highly consequential. It ultimately found its resolution in the formal institutionalization of limited liability as a constitutive legal feature of incorporation. This was a striking turning point in the history of capitalism, with profound implications for our contemporary understanding of responsibility in economic life. About the speaker Marie-Laure Djelic is Professor in the Management Department at ESSEC, where she teaches Organization Theory, Business History and Comparative Capitalism. In 2002-2003, she was holding the Kerstin Hesselgren Professorship at Uppsala University, in Sweden and she has been Visiting Professor at Stanford, Uppsala and SCORE (Sweden). Her research interests range from the role of professions and social networks in the transnational diffusion of rules and practices to the historical transformation of capitalism and national institutions. She is the author of Exporting the American Model (Oxford University Press 1998), which obtained the 2000 Max Weber Award for the Best Book in Organizational Sociology from the American Sociological Association. She recently edited Transnational Communities: Shaping Global Governance, with Sigrid Quack (Cambridge University Press 2010).


  • Risk, The State and the Public: Theorizing the Politics of 'Shared Responsibility'
    Dr Vibeke Schou Tjalve
    Karen Lund Petersen
    Copenhagen University
    Tuesday 30 November, 1.00 - 2.30pm, AGWR


    This talk examines the state/society relationship in an era of risk. What happens, we ask, when private citizens are mobilized to anticipate and shoulder elusive security responsibilities in the face of uncertainty? What kind of state is created, what kind of security governance is exercised, and what historical practices of security governance are appropriated or transformed in the process?  

    About the speakers

    Vibeke Schou Tjalve is a senior researcher at the Centre for Advanced Security Theory (CAST), University of Copenhagen. She is currently a visiting research fellow at the LSE, pursuing a research project on past and present challenges to the democratic governance of Western security policy. The project theorizes how and why the emergence of a language of 'risk' in Western security discourse may seriously disrupt conventional forms of public deliberation on security politics, impairing central democratic ideals of restraint, control and accountability.

    Karen Lund Petersen is currently Post. Doc and Deputy Director at the Centre for Advanced Security Theory, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her current work is mainly directed towards understanding how private companies have become integral and important political partners in the security policies of western states. Karen holds a PhD in political science from the University of Copenhagen and has been visiting researcher at Stanford University and the Copenhagen Business School.

  • Crystal balls or Christmas Baubles? Risk-Based Policymaking and the Institutional Modulation of Risk
    Dr Henry Rothstein
    King's College, London
    Tuesday 16 November, 1:00-2.30pm, NAB1.14


    Risk has become a central organizing concept of governance in recent years, exceeding its long association with harms to the environment, health and safety. Proponents of risk-based policymaking argue it can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of policy interventions, but critics argue that its potential benefits are undermined by the challenges of putting it into practice. This paper draws on research conducted with Dr John Downer to examine the factors shaping the adoption and implementation of risk-based policymaking by the UK Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Defra). Building on a wide range of studies of the factors shaping the way that organizations operationalise risk management, the paper considers whether risk-based approaches challenge policymaking, or simply reframe and reinforce current practices in ways that are 'institutionally modulated' by pre-existing values, beliefs and ways of working. The paper concludes that risk-based policymaking serves varying and sometimes conflicting objectives, in particular navigating conflicting pressures to account for policy outcomes whilst avoiding blame for failure, and that this has important implications for achieving desired policy outcomes.

    About the speaker

    Henry Rothstein is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Deputy Director of the King's Centre for Risk Management at King's College London. His main research interests concern the institutional factors that shape the way that risk governance develops, works and fails within the public and private sectors and across policy domains.

  • Technoscience and Risk Regulation: a Non-Trivial Relationship
    Dr Karen Kastenhofer
    Austrian Academy of Sciences
    Tuesday 18 May, 1:00-2:30pm, G305


    Emerging technoscience fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and the new neurosciences are related to risk regulation at least in two ways: they are perceived of as sources of risk and hence debated and regulated as risk technologies; they contribute to evidence-based risk regulation with scientific knowledge production and expertise. This twofold relation between emerging technosciences and risk regulation proves less then trivial at a closer look. It is based upon integrating the realms of science, technology and regulatory politics in specific ways. The scientific quest to understand and represent, the technological quest to intervene and control and the regulatory quest to avoid harm while maximising benefits, are sometimes treated as distinct activities, in other contexts they are amalgamated in hybrid settings. Based upon an empirical analysis of technoscientific cultures (for the concept of epistemic cultures, cp. Knorr Cetina 1999, for the concept of technoscience, cp. Hottois 2004), the non-trivial relation between technoscience and risk regulation will be sketched in more detail. The presentation will draw on case studies in the contexts of biotechnology and mobile phone risk regulation. The impact of specific technoscientific cultures on regulatory politics and the impact of regulatory politics on the technosciences are discussed as a kind of 'displaced politics' and 'displaced epistemics' respectively.

    About the speaker

    Karen Kastenhofer studied biology and human ecology in Vienna and Brussels. The inter- and transdisciplinary character of human ecology drew her attention towards epistemological, sociological and cultural aspects of the life sciences. From 1999 to 2001, she took part in the research project 'Science as Culture' at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research and Education (IFF) in Vienna and finished her PhD thesis on the enculturation of biology students in 2005. As post-doc research fellow, she contributed to the research project 'Cultures of Non-Knowledge' at the University of Augsburg. Since 2007, she is employed at the Institute of Technology Assessment at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

  • The Risk University: Organizational Risk Management in English Higher Education
    Professor Michael Huber
    University of Bielefeld.
    Tuesday 4 May, 1:00-2:30pm, G305


    Risk has become a critical feature of good governance in English policy making, also in Higher Education. While the introduction of risk management into academia has attracted manageable attention, the introduction of risk management at the university level has been greatly overlooked. This presentation discusses early results of an exploratory study on the implementation of risk management at English universities.

    Risk management at university level is only loosely coupled to HEFCEs regulatory regime. The presentation shows, first, how universities interpret academic risks as basically administrative risks. Thus, administrative demands trigger a selection process of what can be considered risks under specific organizational conditions. Generally, the focus is on risks that can be managed rather than those that ought to be managed. Second, the distinct foci and management skills of universities bring about considerable variation of academic risk. The presentation reconstructs how administrative concerns dominate the identification of academic risks. Third, risk turns out to be a flexible instrument. Local interpretations of risks are developed with the aim to ensure managerial continuity or in the back of the manifest aims change the power relations within and among universities.

    About the speaker

    Dr Michael Huber is Professor for Higher Education Studies with the Institute of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Bielefeld.
    Michael is also research associate at CARR. He has worked on risk issues in the context of nuclear regulation, climate change policies in Europe and of insurance managing climate change. Recently he expanded his risk portfolio to Higher Education studies.

  • Risk, Technology and Disaster Management
    Professor Sue Black OBE (Dundee University), Commander Nicholas Bracken OBE and Roger Baldwin (Metropolitan Police Service)
    Tuesday 16 March, 6:30-8:00pm, G108

    CARR will be marking ESRC Social Science Week by hosting a seminar entitled 'Risk, Technology and Disaster Management', which will focus on the ways in which advances in science and technology are being used in disaster response, and the technical and social risks associated with the use of such technologies.

    The event will provide a forum for practitioners, policymakers and publics to debate the technical, social and ethical aspects of disaster management and relief, and the risks associated with these undertakings.

    Confirmed speakers:

    Professor Sue Black OBE
    Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, Dundee University
    Professor Sue Black OBE has extensive experience of applying forensic anthropology to disaster victim identification in places such as Thailand, Kosovo, and Iraq.

    Commander Nicholas Bracken OBE
    Metropolitan Police Service
    Commander Nicholas Bracken OBE has over 30 years policing experience and has led numerous high profile investigations. These include the Ladbroke Grove and Selby train crashes; the Yarls Wood immigration centre fire; the successful re-investigation into the previously unidentified victims of the 1987 Kings Cross underground fire; and, in his role as Senior Identification Manager, the UK's response to the 2004 Tsunami. He is currently Area Commander of East London.

    Roger Baldwin
    Metropolitan Police Service
    Roger Baldwin is a member of the senior management team of the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) Directorate of Forensic Services at New Scotland Yard. He has the strategic lead for Disaster Victim Identification and mass fatality forensic systems.

  • Protecting Children from Maltreatment and Protecting Agencies from Blame: Can They Be Compatible?
    Professor Eileen Munro
    London School of Economics
    Tuesday 9 March, 1:00-2:30pm, G305


    The death of Baby Peter in Haringey in 2007 shocked the public who questioned whether the detailed government policy aimed at improving child protection services in England was working effectively. In this seminar, the distinction between societal and managerial risk is used in analysing the development of risk management in child protection. Demands to reduce societal risk (of serious harm or death to children from maltreatment) are hard to meet adequately because of the complexity of the problem. The increased demand for transparency, the development of a detailed audit and inspection system, and the attempts to improve professional practice through increased use of protocols and procedures all combine to create a new way of managing institutional risk - of demonstrating that one has done the procedurally 'right' action. Like many other services, senior management hope that a defence of 'due diligence' will protect them from blame. However, the robustness of this defence is undermined by the reality of a brutal child death such as that of Baby Peter. The problem of creating a more constructive link between managing risk to children and risk to agencies is discussed.

    About the speaker

    Eileen Munro is a Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics. She was a social worker for many years before taking up an academic career. She has studied philosophy, in particular the philosophy of science, and this has fuelled her interest in the reasoning skills needed in social work. Her current research interests are in how best to combine intuitive and analytic reasoning in risk assessment and decision making in child protection. She is also studying the role of the wider organisational system in promoting or hindering good critical thinking. In collaboration with SCIE, she has been adapting the systems approach to investigating adverse events in aviation and health to the social care field.

  • 'Risk Assessment Policy' - a Critical Innovation for both Scientific and Democratic Legitimacy
    Professor Erik Millstone
    University of Sussex
    Tuesday 9 February, 1:00-2:30pm, G305

    For several decades, policy analysts and sociologists of science have been arguing that, in policy contexts, scientific representations of risks (and benefits) are invariably framed by prior assumptions about what counts as a risk, what should count as relevant evidence, and about how evidence and uncertainties should be interpreted. Those assumptions are moreover non-scientific, normative and socially-contestable. In the early years of this decade the Codex Alimentarius Commission that, under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation, sets base-line standards for internationally traded food and agricultural commodities, introduced a key innovation - the concept of 'risk assessment policy', which constitutes the first official acknowledgement of the fact that scientific risk assessments are framed by such prior policy considerations. Moreover, in August 2007, all member states of Codex, (i.e. all members of the United Nations) acknowledged that all individual jurisdictions should provide their risk assessors with explicit risk assessment policy guidelines. The implications of that innovation, and progress towards the implementation of those provisions, will be outlined and critically assessed.

    About the speaker
    Erik Millstone is a Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex, leader of the Environment and Energy group at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and Director of Studies for the MSc programme in Public Policies for Science, Technology and Innovation. His first degree was in Physics; he then gained three post-graduate degrees in Philosophy. Since 1974 he has been researching into the causes, consequences and regulation of technological change in the food industry. From 2004 to 2007 he lead a comparative study of the relationships between science and food safety policy-making, looking at the global Codex-based regime, as well as the UK, USA, Germany, Japan and Argentina.

    Recent publications include: The Atlas of Food: who eats what, where and why, E Millstone and T Lang (eds.), Earthscan London and University of California Press, Berkeley; Risk-assessment policies: differences across jurisdictions, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville, Spain, EUR Number: 23259 EN, April 2008, available online; 'Risking regulatory capture at the UK's Food Standards Agency?', The Lancet, Vol 372, 12 July 2008, pp. 93-94; 'Can food safety policy-making be both scientifically and democratically legitimated? If so, how?', Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 2007, Vol. 20, pp. 483-508; 'Mad Cow Disease - Painting Policy-Making into a Corner' with P van Zwanenberg, Journal of Risk Research, Vol 10, No 5, July 2007, pp 661- 691.


  • Risk and Performance Management in Major UK Public and Private Sector Organisations: a Tale of Contrasting Cultures
    Professor Margaret Woods
    Nottingham University Business School
    Tuesday 1 December, 1:00-2:30pm, G305


    The financial crisis has pushed risk management up the agenda of not just company directors but also national and international politicians and regulators. Increased monitoring and regulation, however, offers no guarantees that risk management will improve in practice, particularly if it results in mere box ticking rather than management which is sympathetic to the changing business environment.

    The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) defines risks as "uncertain future events which could influence the achievement of the organisation's strategic, operational and financial objectives" (IFAC, 1999). Performance management systems are used to track organisational performance relative to objectives and so, applying the IFAC definition of risk, it would seem that risk management and performance management share common ground at least in theory. This paper provides evidence that, in practice, at the level of the individual organisation there are few explicit attempts to integrate the performance and risk management control systems, except within the public sector.

    Using case study evidence from five major UK based public and private sector organisations the paper argues that the public sector can teach the private sector a number of important lessons about risk management. More importantly, it offers evidence of a spectrum of practice that ranges from total synthesis of risk and performance management to a world in which they sit almost entirely independent of one another. The explanations for such variations in practice lie in a range of factors which significantly extend existing contingency theory. These include the intensity of regulatory oversight within a given economic sector, the degree of supply chain complexity, key personalities within senior management and the organisational culture.

    About the speaker

    Margaret Woods is Associate Professor of Accounting & Finance at Nottingham University Business School. She is the founder and co-ordinator of the European Risk Research Network, funded through the EU's Marie Curie programme. Her current research interests lie in the areas of risk disclosures in the banking sector, the problems of fair value accounting and audit in financial services, and public sector performance management.  Margaret has been both sole author and co-author of papers published in journals such as Accounting Organizations and Society, Management Accounting Research, Finance Accountability and Management and Managerial Auditing as well as various ICAEW and CIMA journals.

  • The GM Nation? Public debate: what was it all about?
    Professor Tom Horlick-Jones
    Cardiff University
    Tuesday 27 October, 1:00-2:30pm, G305


    This talk will revisit the experience of the British government-sponsored process of public debate concerning the possible cultivation of genetically-modified (GM) crops, which took place in 2002-03. The debate is occasionally mentioned by pundits (on both 'sides') in ongoing disputes about GM, usually as a source of support for their views. Otherwise, the debate seems to have largely disappeared from sight, and indeed, its website has been closed down. The debate's independent but accredited evaluation was perhaps the most comprehensive to have taken place for any process of public engagement, but there has been relatively little interest in its findings, whether from government, industry or pressure groups. The talk will focus on a number of key overlapping issues, including the origins of the debate; the technicalities and politics of public engagement; and some possible lessons concerning the use of public engagement as a policy tool in the governance of technology innovation.

    About the speaker

    Professor Tom Horlick-Jones has a personal chair in the sociology of risk at Cardiff University. He was team leader of the GM Nation? public debate evaluation project, and he is lead author of the book: The GM Debate: Risk, Politics and Public Engagement (Routledge, 2007; paperback 2009). Over a period of some twenty-five years his work has been concerned with conceptual and applied aspects of a wide range of risk-related issues; in particular emergency planning, safety in the energy and transport industries, strategic planning and decision-making, perception and communication processes, and the everyday management of risk. His current work is primarily concerned with risk and practical reasoning, knowledge brokering in policy-making, and the experience of serious illness.

  • Risk Governance for Food and Nuclear Safety in Japan - Institutional Reform and Its Implementation
    Prof Hideaki Shiroyama
    University of Tokyo
    Tuesday 26 May 2009, 1.00 - 2.30pm, H615.


    Since mid-1990's, Japanese society has undergone a range of serious accidents and malpractices related to science and technology. Among them, two events triggered major institutional transformation of risk governance in the area of food safety and nuclear safety. In the area of food safety, after the existence of BSE case was confirmed in 2001 in Japan, institutional separation of risk assessment and risk management was attempted and implemented. In the area of nuclear safety, after the JCO accident in 1999 and the cover up of cracks in the nuclear reactors by a major utility was discovered in 2002, quality assurance mechanism was introduced at various levels and the use of non-governmental standards set by professional associations, which were expected to responding to rapid development of science and technology, in the regulatory system was facilitated.

    In both cases, basic direction of institutional reform was strengthening scientific basis of regulatory system. But the implementation of reformed institutions encountered various difficulties because factors outside of science are involved.  

    In this presentation, I would like to analyze the implementation of institutional reform of risk governance of food safety and nuclear safety in recent Japan focusing on the interaction and tension between major actors, paying attentions to the framing of each actor. Difference of framing about the expected role of risk assessment under uncertainty, the expectation of delegated role and responsibility of professional associations and private entities and the multifaceted nature of risks to be dealt with in risk governance, are identified as sources of conflict and tension.

    About the speaker

    Hideaki Shiroyama is a Professor at the Graduate School of Law and Politics and Professor and Director of Science, Technology and Public Policy Study Unit at the Graduate School of Public Policy, Tokyo University. He specialises in public administration and is currently researching international administration, environmental/ safety regulations and policy process.

  • Nanotechnology regulation: Prospects and Problems of Transatlantic Convergence
    Dr Robert Falkner
    Tuesday 12 May 2009, 1.00 - 2.30pm, H615.  


    The environmental and health risks of nanotechnologies have emerged in recent years as a new focus of transatlantic regulatory coordination. Both the EU and the US are responding to this rapidly changing field by building on, and adapting, existing regulations (e.g. chemicals, food and cosmetics), and are coordinating their efforts through the OECD. However, given the absence of an international framework for nanotechnology oversight, and potentially divergent national approaches in the EU and US, what are the prospects for transatlantic convergence or conflict in this emerging regulatory area? This paper presents findings from a collaborative research project involving European and American institutions including the LSE.

    About the speaker

    Robert Falkner is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the London School of Economics. His research interests are in international political economy, with special emphasis on global environmental politics, multinational corporations, risk regulation and global governance.

  • Seeing risks amongst the numbers: visualisation techniques in financial markets
    Dr Michael Pryke
    The Open University
    Tuesday 17 February 2009, 1:00pm - 2:30pm, H615.


    The organs of global finance rely upon and face an avalanche of numbers. These data range from official figures published by the likes of the Federal Reserve and the IMF, real-time market data from market exchanges such as Chicago Board of Trade, to news and market reports supplied by 'secondary economy' suppliers such as Reuters and Bloomberg. While the growing availability of market data has benefits it also creates problems, most especially those relating to questions of meaning, judgment and intervention: How do financial agents make sense of these flows - how do they see the 'market', its futures and thus act pre-emptively? One solution to this cluster of problems is said to reside in the development of new technologies of representation, in particular, the design and application of visualisation software. Such software is being introduced to enable better visual imagination of and interaction with markets and the data generating market activity. This is not a case of visualising new data but centres instead on trying to understand existing data in other dimensions. The software in other words equips the agents of global finance to better track and act in relation to the seemingly abstract movements of modern financial markets.

    Against this background this paper reports on recent attempts by financial institutions and software developers to develop and employ visualisation techniques in an effort to make sense of market developments and the risks and opportunities they may contain. The turn to new technologies of representation aims not only to enable better visual imagination of and interaction with markets but also to help visualise financial risks. With particular reference to how the visual turn is being employed in the management of financial organisations as such organisations seek to gain a clearer picture of just where the risks are 'hiding', the paper discusses some of the implications of the turn towards visualisation techniques and how consequently contemporary financial market practices and risks might be better understood.

    About the speaker
    Michael Pryke is a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University. His current research interests focus on the cultural economy of finance and the geographies of money and finance. Papers relating to these interests have been published in journals such as Society and Space, Economy and Society, Urban Studies and Geoforum. He is an editor of the Journal of Cultural Economy. In 2007 he was a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University.

  • Regulating doctors and the custody of virtue
    Prof Mary Dixon-Woods
    University of Leicester
    Tuesday 20 January 2009, 1:00pm - 2:30pm, H615.


    Until recently, doctors have been regulated primarily through professional norms operating both as standards of practice and as a constraint on action, with the law acting as a background threat. This approach was backed by a state "bargain" where the profession was granted a near-monopoly over the provision of its services, in return for its providing rules of conduct and associated regulatory procedures and processes. Traditionally, virtually unfettered professional discretion has been accorded to the clinician, based on the premise that only qualified members of the profession are capable of setting the appropriate standards, and detecting and assessing defaults from those standards. This approach can be understood to rely heavily for its effectiveness on individuals internalising and cooperating with the collective norms of the professional group by aligning their individual conduct with the profession's standards. Beginning with the work of Eliot Friedson, sociologists have often been highly sceptical of the claims both of virtue and expertise that secure occupational monopoly and immunity from external scrutiny. The professional dominance critique is especially critical of the traditional self-regulatory model, arguing that professional interests will tend to be privileged over others. This unsympathetic analysis of the medical profession's ability to deliver on its responsibilities appears to have had considerable purchase during a series of crises involving doctors in the UK (and some other countries) in recent years. The crises have been interpreted, in official inquiries and elsewhere, as demonstrating that the existing scheme of professional self-regulation was a vehicle through which the medical profession sought to safeguard its elite status, rather than promoting the safety and well-being of patients. These criticisms have been mobilised as part of a programme of regulatory reform that destabilises self-regulatory claims both at a corporate level (through reform of the General Medical Council) and at an individual level (through increasing intervention in the mandate of individual practitioners). Such criticisms, combined with institutional pressures towards risk management, have further legitimated the introduction of a range of measures aimed at controlling, directing, and surveillance the practices and conduct of doctors. In this paper, I explore some of the implications of these efforts at regulating doctors for the custody of virtue, arguing that there are grounds for caution about where and to whom custody is granted.

    About the speaker
    Mary Dixon-Woods is Professor of Medical Sociology at the University of Leicester, where she leads the Social Science Research Group at the Department of Health Sciences. Educated at Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, and Oxford University, she is currently a Fellow in medical regulation under the ESRC's Public Services Programme. She has particular interests in sociological approaches to quality and safety in healthcare, regulation of health professionals, bioethics, and childhood illness. She has also been involved in the development of methods for inclusion of qualitative research in evidence syntheses.


  • Problems of governance of a globalised industry: the case of the enforcement of international regulations on seafarers' health and safety, welfare and training
    Prof Michael Bloor
    Universities of Glasgow and Cardiff
    Tuesday, 25 November 2008, 1:00pm-2:30pm - H615

    The shipping industry has been transformed more than any other traditional industry by globalising economic processes and there is now effectively a single global labour market for the world's one million seafarers. It might be thought a 'critical case' for the effective governance other emerging globalised industries. There is an extensive international regulatory framework embracing UN agencies (the International Maritime Organisation, the International Labour Organisation) and regional bodies (the European Commission, the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port-State Control) and enforcement has partially embraced a 'smart regulation' approach, seeking to create incentives that encourage operators to take active steps that to comply with international standards. The paper will draw on an ESRC-funded cross-national (UK-India-Russia) study of port-State inspections and a current study of seafarer training to list some of the main difficulties in effective global governance of international labour standards. In particular, the paper draws attention to the difficulties consequent to the contracting out of the labour supply, difficulties in local 'regulatory character' and inconsistencies in inspection practices.

    About the speaker
    Michael Bloor has part-time appointments at the Centre for Drug Misuse Research at the University of Glasgow and the Seafarers International Research Centre at Cardiff University. He is a sociologist whose interests in risk behaviour have broadened to the governance of risk. He was seconded to the International Labour Office's delegation to the Joint Maritime Commission meeting which produced the 'Geneva Accord' on labour standards in the shipping industry.

  • Risk Taking and Action in Online Anonymous Markets
    Dr Alex Preda
    University of Edinburgh
    Tuesday, 11 November 2008, 1:00pm-2:30pm - H615

    Recent technological developments have led to the gradual replacement of trading floor transactions with anonymous, online dealing in financial securities. These developments have also brought real-time financial transactions within the reach of non-professional traders. It seems that technological advances are bringing financial markets closer to the normative model (as formulated by economics) of individual, dispersed agents acting on the basis of the same information (as provided by computer screens). A central question, therefore, is whether online anonymous trading transforms the behaviour of market actors, making them more like calculative agents, who project and evaluate courses of action, develop plans and strategies, taking calculated risks. Such a question is also relevant because more and more non-institutional traders take advantage of electronic trading opportunities, investing their savings in playing the market. Does online trading transform market players into rational, calculative agents? How do traders perceive, project, and evaluate risks in electronic trading environments? What are the implications for the increased public engagement with financial trading? These questions are examined based on ethnographic observations of concrete trading behaviours in online anonymous markets. The data discussed here is part of an ongoing, ESRC-financed project on the links between action and cognition in online markets.

    About the speaker
    Alex Preda works in Sociology, part of the School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh. In addition to a book about the emergence of medical knowledge on AIDS, he has authored a number of articles on financial markets technology and behaviour. He is also the author of Framing Finance: The Boundaries of Markets and Modern Capitalism (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming Spring 2009) and the co-editor of The Sociology of Financial Markets (Oxford University Press, 2005). He is currently working on a book on Markets: Economic Life and Social Behaviour, contracted with Oxford University Press. His current research interest focuses on information, cognition and trading behaviour in online anonymous markets. He is conducting an ERSC-funded research project on Technology, Action and Cognition in Online Anonymous Markets: A Sociological Study of Non-institutional Traders.

  • Human Rights as Risk: Examining the Risk-Rights Relationships in a New Way
    Prof Noel Whitty
    University of Nottingham
    Tuesday, 7 October 2008, 1:00pm-2:30pm - H615

    Over the last decade, UK criminal justice policy and practice have been transformed by the focus on risk. During this same period, the UK has experienced a seismic shift with the growth of rights consciousness and claims, the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998, and a deeper culture of rights adjudication. These trends make the management of organisational risk within the criminal justice sector more complex and unpredictable. This paper argues that human rights advocates need to engage more closely with the new world of risk and rights.

    The conventional way of understanding the risk-rights relationship fixates on risk versus rights. This paper argues that human rights needs to find ways to change this frame to risk and rights. Two sub-frames can be suggested: a risk within rights approach which emphasises that the prevention of (future) harm can be interpreted inside the existing framework of human rights; and a rights as risk approach which emerges from the focus on the management of organisational risk. This paper will concentrate on the latter in light of the growing recognition that managing risk means managing the risk of rights. Human rights are a particularly complex organisational risk. They have the potential to disrupt the interests and overall standing of an organisation, not least because they encompass, but are not limited to, legal risk. Furthermore, risks exist in both engaging with, and rejecting, human rights. This paper highlights the range of influences, demands and obligations which have the capacity to lead to the construction of rights as risk, including the way that organisational cultures shape how human rights are interpreted and institutionalised.

    About the speaker
    Noel Whitty is Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Nottingham. He has published on different aspects of UK human rights law and activism. His current research focuses on the co-existence of risk and rights discourses in contemporary criminal justice settings. Recent publications include 'MAPPA for Kids: Discourses of Security, Risk and Children's Rights' in K. Baker and A. Sutherland (eds), Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements and Youth Justice (Policy Press, 2008); 'Is Human Rights Prepared? Risk, Rights and Public Health Emergencies' (with Thérèse Murphy, forthcoming); and 'Risk and Human Rights in UK Prison Governance' (2007) 47 British Journal of Criminology 798 (with Thérèse Murphy).

  • Science, precaution and participation in risk governance: from tension to synergy?
    Prof Andy Stirling
    University of Sussex
    Tuesday, 13 May 2008, 1:00pm-2:30pm - H615

    In current high-profile debates over the management of technological risk, many see a contradiction between science and innovation on the one hand and precaution and participation on the other. Moves towards wider public engagement are often seen alternatively as (positively) an issue of democratic principle or (negatively) a reflection of 'political correctness'. Either way, there appears to be a tension with the role of objective expertise and rigour in the governance of technology. Likewise, increasing prominence of the precautionary principle is sometimes represented as a capitulation to irrational public anxieties over new technology. Where no distinction is made between different pathways for technological innovation, there arise strong fears that precaution presents a threat to technological progress itself. Starting from a broad view of the nature of technological progress - and using examples drawn from debates over energy technologies and agricultural strategies - this presentation will explore some of the gaps and misunderstandings in current high level policy discourses over science, precaution, participation and progress. A number of practical implications will be explored both for appraisal methods and general policy making.

    About the speaker
    Andy Stirling works as Science Director at SPRU (science and technology policy research) at the University of Sussex and a co-director of the joint SPRU / Institute for Development Studies ESRC-funded 'STEPS' Centre (on 'Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability'). He is also part of the ESRC-funded Sussex Energy Group, With a background in natural science and the environment movement, he is a social and policy researcher scientist with wide interests in the governance of risk, sustainability and innovation. He has served on a number of statutory policy advisory bodies for the British Government and European Commission.

  • "Culture Eats Systems for Breakfast": On the Limitations of Management Based Regulation
    Prof Neil Gunningham
    The Australian National University
    Tuesday, 29 April 2008, 1:00pm-2:30pm - H615

    For over a decade, governments and corporations in North America, Western Europe and Australasia have been experimenting with an innovative approach to standard setting variously termed "process-based", "systems-based" or "management based" regulation or (when applied by private corporations to their own operations), "management based strategy". Understandably, since management-based initiatives are of relatively recent origin, there has been relatively little evaluation of how they actually work in practice. And of those evaluations that have taken place, none has focused on two potentially critical aspects of their implementation: (i) the gap between the intentions of firms or regulators to achieve social goals through management-based initiatives, and their implementation at site level; and (ii) the extent to which management-based initiatives successfully engage with organizational culture, especially at site level. These facility-level implementation issues are crucially important because management-based strategies are designed for large rather than small organizations and most large organizations operate at a number of different sites, often in different jurisdictions.

    This paper takes one area of public policy where management based strategies has been heavily relied upon, both in terms of government regulation and corporate strategy - mine safety - and examines the reasons for what appears to be substantial and widespread implementation failure. It examines this failure at two levels: in terms of a "disconnect" between Head Office initiatives and site level behaviour, and in terms of the failure of those initiatives to engage successfully with site level culture.

    About the speaker
    Professor Neil Gunningham is an interdisciplinary social scientist and lawyer who specialises in safety, health and environmental regulation and governance. He currently holds Professorial Research appointments in the Regulatory Institutions Network, Research School of Social Sciences, and in the School of Resources, Environment and Society, at the ANU. His books include Mine Safety: Law, Regulation, Policy (2007), Leaders and Laggards: Next Generation Environment Regulation (with Sinclair) Greenleaf, 2002, Shades of Green: Business, Regulation and Environment (with Kagan and Thornton), Stanford UP, 2003, Smart Regulation: Designing Environmental Policy,(with Grabosky) Oxford UP, UK, 1998. and Regulating Workplace Safety (with Johnstone), Oxford UP, UK, 1999.

  • From Risk to Quality: International Standards and the Service Economy
    Prof Jean-Christophe Graz
    University of Lausanne
    Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 1:00pm - 2:30pm - H615

    This paper explores the political implications of the growing influence of international standards on society, taking the case of the service sector as a distinct field of study. The analysis relies on global political economy approaches, which try to identify constitutive patterns of authority mediating between the political and the economic spheres on a transnational space. It extends to the area of service standards the assumption that the process of globalisation is not opposing states and markets, but a joint expression of both of them including new patterns and agents of structural change through formal and informal power and regulatory practices. It presents preliminary results of a major research project, which combines cross-institutional and sectoral analyses. It examines the most important international institutions involved in the power of service standards and provides an account of common patterns in initial developments affecting contrasting cases. The paper argues that service standards depend on conflicting definitions of quality requirements to promote a form of transnational hybrid authority, that blurs the distinction between private and public actors, whose scope spread all along from physical measures to societal values, and which reinforces the deterritorialisation of regulatory practices in contemporary capitalism.

    About the speaker
    Jean-Christophe Graz is Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques et Internationales (IEPI) of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he is at the head of the research team international relations and standardisation. Prior to taking up this position, he held teaching and research positions in Canada, the UK, France and other Universities in Switzerland. His latest books are: Transnational Private Governance and its Limits (Routledge, 2008 - with A. Nölke, eds) and La gouvernance de la mondialisation ("Repères", La Découverte, 2008, 2nd ed.).

  • Transparency and Discretion
    Dr Andrew Barry
    Oxford University Centre for the Environment
    Tuesday, 26 February 2008

    The idea of transparency has been heavily promoted as a solution to the problem of the 'resource curse': the apparent paradox that countries with high levels of natural resources often have low levels of economic growth. Transparency, it is thought, reduces the problems of secrecy, corruption and a lack of public accountability which blight the development of resource rich economies. According to Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz (2007), for example, "the first step toward reversing the oil curse is to remove the layers of secrecy that continue to surround so many aspects of the industry" through the promotion of transparency. This paper interrogates the relation between transparency and secrecy both conceptually and empirically. I argue that transparency both promotes new forms of secrecy and also the critical importance of discretion; of making sure that matters are not known about which would need subsequently to be made transparent. Moreover, the production of information which is demanded if the principle of transparency is followed creates further unintended consequences, fostering conflict about the process of information production itself and focusing attention on specific issues at the expense of others.

    About the speaker
    Andrew Barry is Reader in Geography at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment and a Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford. He has written widely on the politics of technology, social theory and political and economic geography and is the author of Political Machines: Governing a Technological Society (2001) and co-editor of the Technological Economy (2005). Dr Barry's paper draws on a recent ESRC funded study of the politics of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. He is currently researching the politics of the debates about 'peak oil' and the 'resource curse'.

  • Risk Management and Budgeting
    Prof Michela Arnaboldi
    Politecnico di Milano
    Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 1:00pm - 2:30pm - H615

    Risk management has been receiving increasing attention as instrument for predicting risks and helping organizations in achieving their goals. This interest has led a number of companies to enact new processes for undertaking this task. However the attention to risk, and the possible modes for reducing uncertainty, is not a novelty, and budgeting has been permeated by this aspiration for more than forty years. These two processes, risk management and budgeting, appear related: risk management aims at analyzing and prevent risks for helping organizations to achieve their goals; budgeting aspires to define the company viable goals considering the risks that can create variances. Starting from this consideration the seminar analyzes the integration (or non integration) between budgeting and risk management through empirical evidence. The cases analyzed present different achievements of integration, signalling the importance of the process of change in both risk management and budgeting. In picturing this change, Risk Management and Budgeting may be seen as rules and routines, which evolves overtime following different, sometime erratic, paths (Burns and Scapens, 2000). Their (possible) integration is presented unfolding their transformation per se and together, evidencing the interplay of external pressures and individual actions. Among these forces the role of translator (risk management and budgeting owners) emerge as relevant in making and giving sense to different approaches (Gioia and Chittipeddi, 1991).

    About the speaker
    Michela Arnaboldi is Associate professor at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering. Her main research interests are in accounting and control systems; since 2001 she has been collaborating with the School of Management at the University of Edinburgh on these topics. She is currently studying the relation between risk management and control systems, and its impact on processes and power within organisations. Among her publications: "Modern Costing Innovations and Legitimation: A Health Care Study" Abacus, (with I. Lapsley, 2004); "Internal Audit in Italian organizations: a multiple case study" Managerial Auditing Journal, (with M. Arena and G. Azzone, 2006).


  • Private Regulation in the New European Architecture
    Prof Fabrizio Cafaggi
    European University Institute.
    Tuesday, 30 Oct 2007, 1:00pm - 2:30pm - H615


    Changes to administrative regulation have been driven by a lack of legitimacy and transparency and the boundaries between private and public regulation have shifted. Such a shift poses accountability challenges to private regulation, which can be solved by using different complementary systems: governance and market and state accountability.

    Market accountability can be provided by ensuring a plurality of private regulators competing for regulatees. Such accountability presupposes free movement of regulatees, thus relatively low costs to enter and exit regulatory relationships and a common set of rules shared by private regulators. It also assumes that the final beneficiaries of the regulatory process (consumers and investors) may affect the choice of the regulatee.

    Public accountability is ensured by devising co-regulatory arrangements whereby the public regulator or the legislator defines the regulatory framework in cooperation with the private regulator. This arrangement often provides substitution power for the public regulator in case of inaction or misfeasance.

    The interplay between these mechanisms can increase the accountability of private regulators and ensure that increased powers are combined with adequate liabilities.

    About the speaker

    Professor Cafaggi is the Professor of Comparative Law at the European University Institute.  his research areas include self-regulation, comparative European law and economics.

  • From Free Movement to Risk Analysis:  a Legal Perspective on the Change of the EU's Regulation of Foods
    Dr. Morten Broberg
    University of Copenhagen
    Tuesday, 23 Oct 2007, 1:00pm - 2:30pm - H615


    Until the 1990s the EU regulation of food products did not differ much from that of other types of products; the primary focus was upon securing the free movement across the EU's internal borders. The food scandals of the 90s however caused the EU legislator to introduce a new and extensive legal regime which to a considerable extent is aimed at reducing the risk associated with foods. In his presentation Dr. Broberg will explain this change of legal regime and he will consider to what extent the regime conforms with fundamental EU law principles.

    About the speaker:

    Dr. M.P. Broberg is associate professor in European Union Law at the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law. During the academic year 2007/08 Dr. Broberg will be on leave from the University while working on a research project on European food safety at the Danish Institute for International Studies. Dr. Broberg is qualified as an advocate at the Danish bar. In addition to working in private practice, he has earlier worked as head of section in the Danish Ministry of Justice and as référendaire (legal secretary) to the President of the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg. His primary research interests are in the field of food regulation and the EU's relation with the developing countries.

  • The Politics of Transparency
    Christina Garsten
    Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE)
    Tuesday, 16 Oct 2007, 1:00pm - 2:30pm - 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.

  • Legal risk, law and justice in a globalizing financial market
    Mr Roger McCormick
    Director of LSE Law and Financial Markets Project
    Tuesday, 15 May 2007 1:00pm - 2:30pm - H615


    Legal risk has been a focus of attention in the financial markets for some time, at least since the Hammersmith & Fulham case prompted the Bank of England to form the Legal Risk Review Committee and cases such as British Eagle and Charge Card started various hares running about the effectiveness of set-off in insolvency and certain kinds of netting arrangements.

    The debates in this area have been refuelled by the new emphasis that Basel 2 places on operational risk control procedures and systems as well as the rapid growth of the compensation culture and consumerism and the fashion for zealous market regulation and legislative attempts to "prevent" (or at least combat more effectively in some way) fraud, terrorism, money-laundering, serious crime etc.

    Meanwhile, the ambitions of financial market participants remain boundless, with technical legal problems being perceived as little more than nuisances from a bygone era that should not be allowed to inhibit product development and the functioning of a global market in a manner that transcends the foibles of individual jurisdictions. What risks result from such phenomena? What exactly do we now mean by legal risk and how can we manage it? Who should be responsible for it in any event?

    About the speaker

    Roger McCormick is a Visiting Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (where he is also the Director of its Law and Financial Markets Project).
    He is also the author of "Legal Risk in the Financial Markets" (Oxford University Press 2006) and the General Editor of Law and Financial Markets Review (Hart)

    Roger retired from full-time private legal practice in 2004, having practised law in the City of London for nearly thirty years.

  • Language Games and Tragedy: The Bristol Royal Infirmary Disaster Revisited
    Dr Beth Kewell
    York Management School
    Tuesday, 1 May 2007 1:00pm - 2:30pm - H615


    Actors in health organizations often participate in language games which encompass clinical, professional, and organizational subject matter. Such language games intersect within the hospital environment. This paper appraises issues of clinical risk through the re-examination of the language games which formed a part of one of Britain's worst medical disasters, namely the Bristol Royal Infirmary tragedy.

    A textual, grounded analysis of transcripts from the oral hearings of the 'Bristol Inquiry' (n = 74) provides the paper with a qualitative dataset, within which medical language games are analysed. The paper concludes that clinical actors work within discourses of risk (McDonald et al. 2005) that are partly constructed within, and by, participation in language games (Wittgenstein 1953). In the case of the Bristol Royal Infirmary tragedy, these games manifested contrasting interpretations of risk and safety which reflected a tainted interpretation of data by different parties at different times of the unfolding tragedy. Sensemaking of reputation appears to have played an important part in the construction of these interpretations of risk.

    About the speaker

    Dr. Beth Kewell was awarded her PhD in 1997 (Brunel University). During her academic career, she has worked as a Research Associate (Imperial College), and 'New University' Senior Lecturer (Bristol UWE). Dr. Kewell was appointed to the York Management School as a Lecturer in Public Sector Management in 2005. Her main research interests include the study of the social construction of risk; science, society and risk; discourse analysis; disaster theory; and public and private sector organizational disasters.

  • Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Regulation (Panel Discussion)
    (2007 ESRC Festival of Social Science)
    Tuesday, 13th March 2007 2-4pm - U8 

    ESRC Festival of Social Science Week Seminar

    Date: Tuesday 13 March 2007
    Time: 2pm-4pm
    Venue: London School of Economics, Houghton Street WC2A 2AE (Tower 1, Theatre U8)

    Calls for better regulation, less regulation and deregulation are widespread and commonly voiced in the media. Debates about regulation increasingly focus on red tape, burdens and costs. Regulation is popularly understood to impede productivity, reduce competitiveness, hamper innovation and challenge our freedoms. Yet there are also widespread calls for protection from risk, for compensation for harm, and for increased fairness and accountability in corporate and public life. How can these competing pressures be explained and reconciled? Is regulation costly? Or is it money well spent in the public interest? Can less be more? What does better regulation mean? How is it to be achieved? And for whom?

    A panel of distinguished speakers will debate these issues and reflect on the nature of regulation: its costs, its benefits, and its place in modern society.

    Discussing these issues will be:

    Mr Philip Cullum            Deputy Chief Executive, National Consumer Council
    Mr Matthew Fell            Head of Group Corporate Affairs, Confederation of British Industry
    Mr Alexander Ehmann   Regulation and Enterprise Policy Adviser, Institute of Directors
    Dr Colin Church            Director, Regulatory Innovation, Better Regulation Executive
    Mr David Norgrove       Chairman, The Pensions Regulator

    The discussion will be chaired by Professor Bridget Hutter, Director of CARR.

  • Safe in their Hands? Licensing and Revalidation of Safety-Critical Professions in Industry and Healthcare
    Prof Rhona Flin, Professor of Psychology, University of Aberdeen.
    Tuesday, 6 March 2007 1-2:30pm - H615


    Trusting in the professional competence of others pervades lifestyles reliant on technological advances such as nuclear power, high speed transportation, invasive medical treatments. But how do we know that we are 'safe in their hands'? Effective safety management needs to incorporate competence assurance systems for staff in safety-critical positions. These are well established in certain high-risk industries but are uncommon in UK healthcare. With reference to current concern regarding the state of patient safety in the UK (Kennedy, 2006) and the recent publication 'Good Doctors, Safer Patients' (Donaldson, 2006), this seminar will examine the regulations and methods of licensing and revalidation adopted in aviation and the energy sector and consider their potential application to the medical profession.

    About the speaker

    Rhona Flin PhD, CPsychol, FBPsS, FRSE is Professor of Applied Psychology at the University of Aberdeen and Director of the Industrial Psychology Research Centre. Her research team specialises in the application of psychology to safety and emergency management in high reliability industries and healthcare. They study safety climate, safety leadership, crew resource management, non-technical skills and emergency management. Since 1987, they have been carrying out research with the offshore oil industry and now also work with nuclear and conventional power generators, civil aviation, the emergency services and acute medicine. Her books include Managing the Offshore WorkforceSitting in the Hot Seat: Leaders and Teams for Critical Incident Management, and Decision Making under Stress.

  • Deliberative Mapping: a novel analytic-deliberative tool for participatory risk assessment
    Prof Jacqui Burgess
    University of East Anglia, Centre for Environmental Risk.
    Tuesday, 30 January 2007 1-2:30pm - H615


    Deliberative Mapping is a participatory, multi-criteria option appraisal tool developed by a team of researchers from UCL and SPRU (University of Sussex). DM has been trialled in two different arenas since 2001: the first explored options for kidney organ transplantation (funded by the Wellcome Trust 2001-03); the second, explored options for the disposal of the UK's legacy radioactive wastes (funded by CoRWM, in 2004).

    In this presentation, Jacquie Burgess will address the arguments for combining analytic and deliberative forms of reasoning in risk assessment to demonstrate how DM's claims to novelty might be evaluated, before turning to a more detailed discussion of the CoRWM DM radwaste trial and reflections on the extent to which lessons from the trial contributed to the final program of public and stakeholder engagement undertaken by CoRWM between 2004-6.

    About the speaker

    Jacquie Burgess specialises in the social and cultural dimensions of environmental social science, with particular interests in the design and implementation of decision-making processes that bring experts, stakeholders and citizens into productive discussions to support policy development.

  • Fear and Terror in a Post - Political Age, Misunderstanding the Meaning of Contemporary Terrorism
    Prof Bill Durodie, Senior Lecturer in Risk and Security, Cranfield University, Swindon
    Tuesday, 20th February 2007 1-2:30pm - H615


    The 'Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005', describes itself as a 'narrative'. The implication is that, after an investigation lasting almost a year, the best the authorities can come up with is, to identify what happened and when, but not why. The backgrounds of the perpetrators are described as 'unexceptional', their purported links to al-Qaeda as lacking 'firm evidence', and their methods and materials as respectively requiring 'no great expertise' and being 'readily available'. Despite this, the desire to attribute a meaning to contemporary terrorist attacks is very powerful. Many commentators have been particularly keen to suggest a link to the war in Iraq, despite Mohammed Siddique Khan himself making no mention of this in a video released subsequently.

    For security professionals, identifying the supposed 'risk-factors' that act as 'pathways to radicalisation', dominates their work. But how well do we understand these? And, has a particular way of framing contemporary acts of terror come to dominate, at the cost of failing to understand it at all and possibly even, making matters worse? The recent police raid upon a house in east London suggests the authorities to be preoccupied by the possibility of a global terrorist conspiracy, inspired by an evil, foreign ideology and determined to acquire and deploy weapons of mass destruction. Yet, there is very little evidence for this.

    This paper will suggest that the evidence we have to date points to the possibility that contemporary acts of terror are, in the main, perpetrated by lone nihilists or loose groups, more often than not educated and brought up in the West and lashing out against a society they feel alienated from but have no effective framework or capabilities to influence. If this is so, then the real truth regarding the attacks of 7th July 2005 may be that they were largely meaningless, and that it is our desperate attempts to attribute some kind of meaning to them and to deal with the terrorists through an assumed framework of values and ideas, that is the real problem.

    About the speaker

    Bill Durodié is Senior Lecturer in Risk and Corporate Security at Cranfield University. He was previously Director of the International Centre for Security Analysis, and Senior Research Fellow in the International Policy Institute, within the 5* Research Assessment Exercise rated War Studies Group of King's College London. His main research interest is into the causes and consequences of our contemporary consciousness of risk. He is also interested in examining the erosion of expertise, the demoralisation of élites, the limitations of risk management and the growing demand to engage the public in dialogue and decision-making in relation to science.


  • The Normalisation of sanitary alarms - a sociological analysis of the revision of WHO International Health Regulations
    Didier Torny, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Paris.
    Tuesday, 10 October 2006 1-2:30pm

    At the beginning of the 1980s, in the context of diminishing infectious diseases and the confirmed eradication of small pox, IHR seems to be a remainder of the past, the international sanitary action focusing on different threats: malnutrition, access to drugs, hygiene programs, nicotinism, alcoholism or chronic diseases. From a process of norms based on local policing powers, regulatory interventions kept on going towards the establishment of international standards into the biomedical or medico-social field. However, the revised 2005 version of IHR shows a much more normative character than its predecessor of 1969 (amended 1984). My presentation will analyse the necessary conditions of this revision, underlying the role of (re-)emerging diseases as a key concept, describe the ten-year process of revision (1995-2005) in its key moments (especially the SARS epidemic), question the absence of public interest in IHR (contrary to other similar regulations, such as WTO texts) and suggest that this soon-to-be implemented sets of rules and device embodies an impending international community based on the management of sanitary alarms.

    Didier Torny (PhD, Sociology) is a junior scientist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. He has extensively studied alerts and alarm raisers in the sanitary fields of asbestos, prion diseases and human immunization. Based on a pragmatic sociology, his current work is focused on the analysis of various methods of public and private normative action, whether conflictual or consensual, their genesis, their application and their consequences. His research involves comparative fieldwork in the domains of agriculture and food, animal and human health, in order to better understand their respective transformations (e.g. pesticides, avian influenza).
  • Drug Risks:  A Brave new world?
    Lucien Abenhaim, Professor of Public Health, University of Paris, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatics, McGill University, Honorary Professor of Risk Management, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
    Tuesday, 24 October 2006 1-2:30pm

    Drugs are among the most frequent risk factors to which persons are exposed in the developed world as their side-effects affect millions of persons every year. They thus represent an interesting model to study the relations between scientific knowledge, risk assessment, decision-making under uncertainty, the conflicts of various interests, risk perception and policy-making. The conference will address these issues in comparing two examples experienced by the lecturer: the story of the marketing and withdrawal of 'appetite suppressants' in Europe and the US in the 90s and the story of Vioxx in the years 2000. The new so-called 'Risk Management' policies set up both at the US FDA and European Medicine Evaluation Agency since 2005 will be discussed in these perspectives.

    Lucien Abenhaim, 55, holds a MD from the University of Paris (1977) a MSc from McGill and a PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris (Information, Risk and Decision, 1986). He is a Professor of Public Health at the University of Paris 5 (2003-present) and an Honorary Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2005-present). He has previously taught as a Full Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University (1989-1999). He held the position of General Director of Health of France (1999-2003). In this later capacity he has overseen the public health of the country and participated in European regulatory decisions. He also was an elected Member of the Executive Committee of WHO (2002-2003).

  • Black Boxes, Red Herrings and White Powder - perspectives on the audit committee
    Laura Spira, Professor of Corporate Governance, Oxford Brookes University Business School
    Tuesday, 7 November 2006 1-2:30pm

    Audit committees have become a central feature of the architecture of corporate governance in the UK since the publication of the Cadbury Committee's recommendations in 1992. This paper outlines the history of the audit committee idea and uses a metaphorical approach to provide different perspectives on its role, identifying its limitations as a mechanism for improving corporate governance and considering the consequences of these limitations in the context of UK corporate governance policy.

    Laura F Sira is Professor of Corporate Governance at Oxford Brookes University Business School. She qualified as a chartered accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co (now KPMG) in London and, after leaving professional practice, worked in the NHS at regional level before joining Brookes.

    Laura's research into corporate governance issues has included a study of the role of audit committees: her book 'The Audit Committee: Performing Corporate Governance', was published by Kluwer in 2000. She has also explored recent developments in internal control and risk management in large UK public companies, leading to the publication of 'The Turnbull Report, Internal Control and Risk Management: the Developing Role of Internal Audit', jointly authored with Mike Page and published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland in 2004. As a result of this, she was invited to act as Academic Adviser to the Turnbull Review Group.

    Laura is a member of the executive committee of the British Accounting Association Corporate Governance Special Interest Group, of which she was a founding member. She is also Research Relationships Adviser for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, bridging the gap between theory and practice by helping technical staff to build networks with academics.

  • Risk Management and Regulation: Two years into the Barroso Commission
    Ragnor Lofstedt, Professor of Risk Management, King's College London
    Tuesday 21 November 2006 1-2:30pm

    This paper examines the European Commission's (EC) Better Regulation Agenda, from the time that President Barroso came to power - in November 2004 - to the 2006 summer recess. It particularly focuses on whether the Commission's regulatory thinking has moved away from the precautionary principle and towards Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), something I predicted in 2004 (Lofstedt 2004). The article summarises the papers and communications in the Better Regulation area put forward by the Commission since November 2004, and makes a number of observations about how the Better Regulation Agenda may develop in the future. In conclusion I argue that the Commission's Better Regulation Agenda has plateaued. Commissioner Verheugen will not be successful in pushing the Agenda further forward because of issues such as REACH and opposition from member states, notably France. It is based on a combination of desk research and interviews with policy-makers, regulators, academics and stakeholders who have been involved either in shaping or fighting the Better Regulation Agenda.

    Ragnar E.Lofstedt is Professor of Risk Management and the Director of King's Centre of Risk Management, King's College London, UK where he teaches and conducts research on risk communication and management. Previously he was a Reader in Social Geography at the University of Surrey, UK. He is also an adjunct Professor at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health where he co-directs the Risk Communication Challenge Course for continuing education professionals with Mr. David Ropeik, he is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, and he is a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Public Sector Research, Gothenburg University, Sweden.
  • Public Perceptions and Trust in the Regulation of genetically Modified Food
    Wouter Poortinga
    Welsh School of Architecture and the School of Psychology, Cardiff University
    Tuesday 2 May, 1-2.30pm

    In this presentation I will discuss public perceptions and trust in the regulation of GM food in Britain. More specifically, I will discuss the importance of prior attitudes and affect for people's responses to information and trust in the regulation of GM food. An important conclusion of my research is that trust is partly an expression of a more general attitude towards GM food. The results suggest that people with preconceived ideas may not easily change their existing attitudes and attributions of trust. However, the results also suggest that the overall dynamics is biased towards distrust. Negative information appeared more informative for people with no clear view on GM food than positive information. Overall, the results suggest that trust is fairly stable for people with clear positive or negative views on GM food, but relatively volatile for people in the middle.

    Dr Wouter Poortinga is an Academic Fellow at the Welsh School of  Architecture and the School of Psychology, Cardiff University. Wouter's research focused on people's responses to various environmental and technological risks. One of his recent topics was on the role of trust in the perception and acceptability of risks. His wider research interests are in studying the interaction between the psychological and social/environmental basis of people's health, well-being and quality of life.

  • The Evolution of Patient Safety
    Charles Vincent
    Department of Surgical Oncology & Technology, Imperial College London
    Tuesday 16 May, 1-2.30pm

    The rising rate of litigation in the 1970s and 1980s was an important stimulus to raising awareness of the problem of patient safety and the development of risk management. Initially risk management had an almost exclusively legal and financial focus, but gradually evolved to address clinical issues and act as a gateway to the underlying problem of patient safety ultimately revealed by retrospective record reviews such as the Harvard Study (1). The Harvard study found that patients were unintentionally harmed by treatment in almost 4% of admissions in New York state. Serious harm therefore came to about 1% of patients admitted to hospital. In the United Kingdom a review of 1014 records indicated a 10.8% adverse events rate, again about half preventable, with a cost of £1 billion per annum in lost bed days alone for preventable events (2). There is also an enormous human cost (3). Many patients suffer increased pain, disability and psychological trauma and may experience failures in their treatment as a terrible betrayal of trust. Staff may experience shame, guilt and depression after making a mistake with litigation and complaints imposing an additional burden.

    In the United States organizations such as the National Patient Safety Foundation are pioneering a much more sophisticated approach to patient safety, drawing on research and practice from a number of different industries. The report of the Institute of Medicine on 'Building a Safer Healthcare System' (4) starkly set out the scale of harm of patients and an ambitious and radical agenda for change, which attracted Presidential backing in the United States. In Britain the Department of Health commissioned a major report on 'An Organisation with a Memory' (5), a report covering similar ground to the Institute of Medicine report, which in turn has led to the creation of the National Patient Safety Agency. The British Medical Journal devoted an entire issue to the subject of medical error (6) in a determined effort to move the subject to the mainstream of academic and clinical enquiry, and other leading journals are now running series on patient safety.

    1. Leape LL, Brennan TA, Laird N, et al. The nature of adverse events in hospitalised patients. Results of the Harvard Medical Practice Study II. N Engl J Med. 1991;324:377-84.
    2. Vincent CA, Neale C, Woloshynowych M. Adverse events in British hospitalised patients: a preliminary retrospective review. BMJ 2001: 322:517-519.
    3. Vincent CA. Risk, safety, and the dark side of quality. BMJ 1997;314:1775-6.
    4. Corrigan J, Kohn L, Donaldson M (eds). To err is human: building a safer healthcare system. Committee on Quality of Healthcare in America, Institute of Medicine. National Academy Press.
    5. Department of Health. An Organisation with a Memory. Report of an Expert Group on Learning from Adverse Events in the NHS. London: The Stationery Office, 2000.
    6. Leape L, Berwick D. Safe healthcare: are we up to it? BMJ 2000; 320: 725-6.

    Charles Vincent trained as a Clinical Psychologist, qualifying in 1978 and working in the British NHS for several years. In 1985 he was appointed a research post at examining 'Avoidable Mishaps in Medicine', a joint Lectureship in Psychology at UCL, and St Mary's Hospital Medical School in 1987, and to Professor of Psychology in 2000. Since 1985 he has carried out research on the causes of harm to patients, the consequences for patients and staff and methods of prevention. He established the Clinical Risk Unit at University College in 1995 and now directors the Clinical Safety Research Unit based in Department of Surgical Oncology and Technology, Imperial College London. He is the editor of Clinical Risk Management (BMJ Publications, 2nd edition, 2001), author of Patient Safety (2005) and author of many papers on risk, safety and medical error. From 1999 to 2003 he was a Commissioner on the UK Commission for Health Improvement.

  • Evaluating the Performance of Infrastructure Regulators: A World Bank Handbook
    Jon Stern
    London Business School, Regulation Initiative
    Tuesday 30 May, 1-2.30pm

    Jon Stern's lunchtime talk at CARR on 30 May will discuss the evaluation of regulatory systems for infrastructure industries. This talk, based on a forthcoming World Bank Handbook, will concentrate on the issue of how best to estimate the role of regulatory systems and their decisions on infrastructure industry outcomes. This includes outcomes for existing consumers, companies and investors as well as for potential and future consumers. The discussion will focus on the role of evaluation as an ex post 'policy audit'. It will also include some discussion, firstly, of regulatory governance issues and the relationship between governance quality and industry outcomes; and, secondly, of intermediate and transitional regulatory arrangements and how they should be evaluated.

    Jon Stern is an Associate at the London Business School's Regulation Initiative and a founder member of the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy at City University, London. He also works as an economic consultant with Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA). He has worked with the World Bank and other agencies in more than 20 developing and transition countries on infrastructure reform and regulation, particularly in electricity. He has published a number of academic and other papers on regulatory governance in developing countries, including the criteria for good regulation and the impact of regulatory governance regimes on investment levels. He is a co-author of a recently completed a World Bank Handbook on the evaluation of infrastructure regulatory systems.

  • Risk, Regulation and the BCCI Litigation
    Joanna Gray
    University of Newcastle upon Tyne
    Tuesday 14 March, 1-2.30pm

    2006 saw the final abandonment of the UK's most expensive single set of civil proceedings to date, namely those proceedings brought by the liquidators of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International against the Bank of England for alleged misfeasance in public office in relation to the discharge of the Bank's supervisory responsibilities in relation to BCCI. Had these proceedings not been abandoned, the resulting judgment would have provided valuable insight into how traditional legal fora and actors in the form of Courts and the judiciary identify and characterise different types of risk that are integral to a banking regulator's task, namely systemic risk (the risk of bank runs and collapse in market confidence) and the prudential risk posed to any individual financial institution and ergo its depositors. However the series of court decisions on the very many preliminary points raised and keenly contested by both sides in the BCCI litigation spans fourteen years and has involved careful appellate level legal attention and argument. It thus provides a rich research site for those interested in the relationship between law, regulation and risk. This paper reviews that litigation as well as more recent instances of attempts to use traditional tools of legal redress to repair politically iconic losses affecting investors and formulates some quite specific and focused questions (but not yet answers) about law, risk and risk-based financial regulation.

    Solicitor and Reader in Financial Regulation, University of Newcastle upon Tyne - legal editor of Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Joanna Gray has had long standing teaching and research interests in financial services regulation as well as practical and consultancy experience in the industry.  She is a former Member Law Society Company Law Committee's Financial Services Working Party. Author (with Jenny Hamilton) of "Implementing financial regulation: theory and practice" (John Wiley & Sons Ltd: 2006).

  • Analysing the Higher Education Regulatory State
    Professor Roger King
    Open University
    Tuesday 28 February, 1-2.30pm

    The notion of 'the regulatory state' in recent years has been applied to national and trans-national (EU) systems of governance, and also to particular policy domains. The presentation will argue that there are good grounds for referring to a 'higher education regulatory state' - that higher education is not 'exceptional' to other policy domains in this respect - although comparative analysis of specific national higher education systems reveals key variabilities in their regulatory approaches.

    The presentation will also refer to the author's recent research on external quality auditors of universities in England and their exercise of 'regulatory intermediation'. Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) auditors, like some other key groups in higher education, look both 'upwards' and 'downwards' in discharging their regulatory responsibilities, and play important parts in regulatory adaptation, flexibility and legitimation.

    Finally, using the UK case, and comparing the higher education sector with those for healthcare, legal services and accountancy, the presentation will point to 'the different worlds of the regulatory state', in which markets and regulatory design as policy instruments are applied differently and often diametrically in respective policy sectors, thus weakening claims to national homogeneity in regulatory cultures.

    Roger King currently is Visiting Professor at the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information at the Open University. Previously he was Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, and founding Chair of the Institute for Learning and Teaching, established to develop professional standards in university teaching following the 1997 Dearing Report into UK higher education. A political scientist, he published 'The State, Democracy and Globalisation' (with G. Kendall), and 'The University in the Global Age', both with Palgrave Macmillan, in 2004. He is researching and publishing on higher education governance from the perspective of regulatory scholarship and comparative public policy.

  • Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism: exploring the interface between technological risk decision-making and administrative law
    Dr Liz Fisher 
    Corpus Christi, Oxford
    Tuesday 14 February, 1-2.30pm

    The public setting of standards and appraisal of risks in relation to technological risks has been one of the most controversial areas of regulation in recent years and given rise to a range of legal disputes in various jurisdictions. Disputes in this area have largely been characterized as disputes between those who argue that science and expertise are the proper basis for risk decision-making and those that argue that democracy and values are. In this paper, by using administrative law as a starting point, I argue that this dichotomy is wrong. Legal disputes are primarily disputes over how law should constitute and limit public administration where there are competing understandings of what the role and nature of good administration is and should be.

    Dr Elizabeth Fisher is Tutorial Fellow and Lecturer in Law, Corpus Christi College and Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. She works on comparative risk regulation and has written widely on risk regulation, public law issues, and the precautionary principle.

  • The Regulation of Genetic Testing - a case study in the difficulties of constructing and operating risk-based regulatory regimes
    Stuart Hogarth 
    Cambridge University
    Tuesday 17 January, 1-2.30pm

    How risky are genetic tests and how should those risks be regulated? In recent years there has been both much optimism about the promise of personalized medicine based on a detailed understanding of our genetic predisposition to disease, and much concern about the possible harms which may arise from the widespread use of poorly evaluated genetic tests. Fears that new tests are evading proper regulatory processes have been balanced by concerns that over-regulation may hamper innovation; one proposed solution as been to focus regulatory scrutiny only on those tests which pose greatest risks to patients. But how does one decide how risky a genetic test is? This paper explores the factors which influence the development and operation of risk-based regulation by examining how regulatory regimes in the USA, Europe, Canada and Australia have dealt with this issue.

    Stuart Hogarth is a Research Associate in the Epidemiology for Policy group at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care. He is working on a Wellcome Trust funded project examining policy issues in the evaluation of clinical genetic testing for common complex conditions.

    Stuart trained as a historian of medicine and expects to complete his PhD early in 2006. He is interested in lay medical cosmologies, popular attitudes to public health, the cultural meaning of health and sickness and the doctor-patient relationship.


  • The Foresight Saga: Lessons from the Failures of Risk Representation
    Sheila Jasanoff
    Harvard University
    13 December 2005

    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, America, according to some commentators, rediscovered poverty. The physical risks of a Category 5 hurricane were evidently better known than the social risks posed by such an event. Katrina in this respect drew attention to a recurrent failure of the imagination when it comes to forecasting risks. Fixated on the texts of predictive analysis, decision makers and publics lose sight of the contexts in which risks are produced, amplified, and do their damage. To restore these contexts to view, we need to draw on the resources of political deliberation more than expert analysis. Representing risk becomes as much a political as a technical undertaking, and it raises new issues for the design of participatory institutions.

    This seminar is sponsored by the Department of Social Psychology, the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR), and the London Public Understanding of Science.

  • The Limits of Loyalty?  The Contested Relationship Between Civil Servants and Politicians
    Professor Rune Premfors
    Stockholm Centre for Organisational Research, Sweden
    6 December 2005

    In modern democracies constitutional rules typically state that civil servants must be loyal to their political masters. Bureaucrats are expected to carry out ministers' wishes and directives, and also to provide them with policy analysis and advice. But what if civil servants are confronted with situations where they disapprove with a course of action favoured by a minister?
    This seminar presentation examines how civil servants within the Swedish Government Office (Regeringskansliet) act when obedience becomes an issue. The research reported includes: a questionnaire sent out to all civil servants significantly involved in policy analysis, advice and execution within the Government Office; some focus groups; and case studies selected on the basis of their illustration of contested relationships.
    Apart from reporting and discussing the Swedish findings the talk will include reflections on methodology, asking in particular if an all-out ethnographic approach is both possible and more appropriate in this 'back-stage' area of government. Finally, the Swedish case is compared with what we know about others, in particular the available research on Britain.

    Rune Premfors is Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University and since 2003, Director of Score (Stockholm Centre for Organisational Research).
    His current research interests include: Democratic theory and practice; historical-institutional theory; democratization of Sweden in comparative and historical perspective; comparative public sector reform. His most recent publication is Deliberativ demokrati (Deliberative Democracy) 2004, of which he is co-editor and co-author.

  • 'Freedom Without Responsibility' Occupational Communities and Safe Practices in Railway Maintenance
    Professor Johan M. Sanne
    Linkoping University, Sweden
    22 November 2005


    Railway infrastructure maintenance technicians create conditions for a safe and timely traffic. Simultaneously, their work may disturb or create risks to traffic if it is not properly performed. Lastly, the technicians are themselves exposed to risks as an integrated part of their work. They claim a responsibility to manage risks, including attitudes and practices that aim to "make it work": flexible coordination concerning conditions for track access, calculated risk-taking and informed rule bending. Thus, responsible practice requires organizational discretion. These practices and related attitudes, expressed as "to know what you are up to", are enforced through mechanisms of social control.

  • Railtrack's Demise - the implications for independent regulation
    Tom Winsor
    White & Case
    8 November 2005

    Controversial as the decision to put Railtrack into administration was, perhaps the most serious adverse implication of the Railtrack affair was the Government's threat - made on the highest authority - to the independence of the Rail Regulator. This was done in order to sever Railtrack's financial lifeline provided by the independent regulator and therefore to prove to a High Court judge that the company was insolvent. Despite warnings by the Rail Regulator of the profound consequences such a step would have for other independent regulatory authorities and private investment, the Government refused to withdraw. Although the threat was never carried out, it was enough to persuade the senior management of Railtrack to give up and not resist the administration order. After the resignation of Stephen Byers as Transport Secretary in 2002, the Government tried hard to airbrush this past mistake out, and the new Secretary of State - Alistair Darling - made three statements to Parliament describing independent economic regulation in the railways as essential. But in Parliament on 24 October 2005, those assurances were discarded and the Government tabled and supported a Commons motion explicitly endorsing the threats made to the independence of the regulator. In this seminar, the Rail Regulator at the time will analyse what this sudden reversal in policy means for the constitutional position of independent regulation in all privatised industries.

    Tom Winsor joined White & Case in July 2004 after five years as the UK's Rail Regulator and International Rail Regulator. As Rail Regulator, Tom was a member of the group of nine economic regulators of the UK (railways, energy, water, broadcasting, OFT, postal services, London Underground, energy (Northern Ireland) and water (Scotland)) which deals with issues of common interest and concern across the regulated sectors.

  • Do Businesses Take Internal Compliance Progams Seriously?  An Empirical Test - Preliminary Results
    Dr Christine Parker
    University of Melbourne
    25 October 2005

    It has been argued that encouraging and forcing the implementation of internal compliance systems by business is the best tool regulators have for making a difference inside business management to identify, correct and prevent breaches of the law ('meta-regulation' of business management of regulatory compliance: Parker 2002a). On the
    other hand, it has been suggested that regulatory encouragement (or enforcement) of compliance systems and business implementation of such systems, is little more than expensive window-dressing to make it look like businesses and regulators are doing something to ensure regulatory compliance, when they are really doing little at all to accomplish compliance with regulatory goals. Indeed, they may be using the compliance system to avoid regulatory liability or deflect blame or conflict about regulatory compliance away from top management. This paper presents preliminary results from a survey of 1000 large Australian businesses experience of competition and consumer law regulation enforcement and compliance. First we consider how compliance can be measured. Then we describe the extent of implementation of competition and consumer law compliance systems by our respondents. Finally we present the results of tests on whether greater implementation of compliance systems leads to greater rates of compliance and/or better compliance management and a better culture of compliance.

    Dr Christine Parker is Senior Lecturer in the Law Faculty, University of Melbourne. Dr Parker's first book evaluated the regulatory and self-regulatory regimes governing the legal profession (Just Lawyers, 1999, OUP) and she regularly writes on lawyers' ethics and regulation. Dr Parker has also conducted extensive empirical research and published widely on internal corporate compliance and ethics systems and on law and regulatory policy for encouraging corporate compliance. Dr Parker speaks regularly on internal corporate self-regulation systems and regulatory policy at continuing legal education seminars and professional conferences. Her major book on this topic, The Open Corporation: Self-Regulation and Corporate Citizenship, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2002.

  • Paradoxes of 'Safety'
    Professor Jerry Ravetz:
    James Martin Institute, Oxford
    11 October 2005

    In this lecture I suggest that we look again at 'safety', as a concept not merely of use in the SHE activities, but as a way to shed light on our present predicaments. The old linear 'risks' model, of research entailing policy, is no longer fully effective. Current hazards are complex (many stakeholders and conflicting goals) as well as uncertain. 'Safety' as an attribute is pragmatic, contextual, moral and recursive. Thus 'How safe is safe enough?' is the typical paradoxical policy issue now. To illustrate all this I discuss my 'Catch-22 Haiku' on 'Safety in the Global Knowledge Economy'. Finally, I discuss the role of paradox in our efforts to cope with the new problems of safety.

    Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford.
    His principal published works include: Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems; The Merger of Knowledge with Power (with S.O. Funtowicz); Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy; (co-edited with Zia Sardar) Cyberfutures and Introducing Mathematics. He is now an independent scholar and self-employed consultant, working mainly on problems of the management of uncertainty in risks and environmental issues.

  • A Technology to produce Risk and Disease: a comparative analysis of genetic testing for breast cancer
    Dr Shobita Parthasarathy
    University of California, Los Angeles
    21 June 2005


    The recent development of testing technologies that generate information about genetic susceptibility to diseases has led to considerable concern about the possible creation of a new category of at-risk individuals who will consequently be medically, socially, and economically disadvantaged. But what role does national context play in the way these risks are defined and for the new categories of at-risk individuals that might emerge? Through comparative case study of the development of genetic testing for breast cancer in the United States and Britain, I will demonstrate that political cultures, institutional structures, and regulatory frameworks played a very important role in the development of the new testing technology, which has important, nationally-specific consequences for the way at-risk individuals were defined and the types of management and therapeutic options that were available to them.

  • Regulating Contaminated Land: policy, sustainability and risk
    Philip Catney
    University of Sheffield
    7 June 2005


    The recycling of brownfield (and contaminated sites) has come to be viewed as a sine qua non of sustainable land use policy in the UK. Freeing up urban areas for re-development is central to the Labour government's objective of stimulating urban renaissance in Britain's cities and towns. Yet the redevelopment of seriously contaminated land poses special risks not encountered on many brownfield sites. This paper analyses the emergence and development of the policy regime for dealing with contaminated land in England. It explores the particular characteristics of the UK approach to remediating contaminated land, and offers a preliminary assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.

    Powerpoint Presentation
  • The New Transnational Public Law: the case of forest certification
    Professor Errol Meidinger
    University of Buffalo
    31 May 2005


    Plausible arguments can now be made that a new transnational public law is emerging and that it is not reducible to the activities of governmental and intergovernmental agencies. This paper takes those propositions as a starting point and offers a preliminary description of the dynamics of the new transnational public law in the arena of forestry regulation. The most important development in the field has been the establishment of a set of competing forest certification programs. These are non-state based institutional systems for certifying to a putatively global public that forest based products have been produced in an environmentally sustainable and in some cases socially just manner. These programs involve formal standard setting and enforcement structures and produce the equivalent of social licenses for forestry enterprises. This paper outlines some emergent central principles and institutions in the field as well as central areas of contestation. It also describes calculations and strategies used by transnational environmental organizations in trying to shape and establish the new public law, responses of industry based interests, and current dynamics of the process.

    Powerpoint Presentation
  • The Biopolitics of Technological Innovation: the case of GM agriculture in Europe
    Bronislaw Szerszynski
    Institute of Environmental and Public Policy, Lancaster University
    24 May 2005


    In this paper I will explore the idea that in the twenty-first century a key site of 'biopolitics' - of a politics oriented to the shaping and optimising of vital forces within society - might be technology itself. In the context of global economic competition, the principle source of economic value for advanced capitalist societies is increasingly lying neither in the physical labouring power of the human worker, nor in the use or exchange value of artefacts, but in the very temporal dynamism of technology - its vital capacity continuously to develop and evolve. The enhancing and shaping of technology's momentum thus becomes a key biopolitical project in itself, and the state has found a new role in relation to technology - not the stabilising of steady-state technology in the context of state-organised welfare capitalism, but the nurturing of spaces and networks which foster technology's liveliness, in the context of the 'far-from equilibrium' economics of global neo-liberalism. Using the case of GM agriculture in Europe, I explore the pressures that this unruly biopolitics of technology is placing on the classical biopolitical 'compact' in which governments promise to protect the health and security of populations.

    Powerpoint Presentation
  • Food Fights: who shapes international food safety standards and who uses them?
    Dr Diahanna Post
    Brookings Institution and the University of California, Berkeley
    3 May 2005


    Conflicts over food safety standards have emerged as one of the most controversial international trade issues in recent years. The World Trade Organization has encouraged countries to adopt food safety standards passed by the international Codex Alimentarius Commission in order to facilitate the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade. How
    have these international standards affected domestic regulations? This talk compares the successful influence of an international standard for processing safe food, called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), with the much more circumscribed influence of the Codex food additive standard. It examines the uptake of the two standards across four very different regulatory environments: the United States, the European Union, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. The paper's major finding is that the role of interest groups is of much less importance than theories of political economy would presume, and that in fact structural factors of regulatory legacies and participation in regional integration initiatives is a greater determinant of the observed outcomes.

  • The Politics of Small Things: nanotechnology, risk and democracy
    James Wilsdon
    26 April 2005


    For their proponents, nanotechnologies offer so much - unlimited energy, targeted pharmaceuticals, intelligent materials and self-organising molecular machines. Bottom-up or top-down, the promises of nano are revolutionary.

    Yet in both the US and Europe, debates about the potential risks of nanotech, with their origins in dystopian fears of 'grey goo', have rapidly taken on a sharper focus around issues of nanoparticle toxicity and the need for tighter regulation. Allied to this are concerns about the lack of accountability and public scrutiny of key research trajectories within nanoscience.

    Nanotech may be a new field, but already it is bristling with tensions and uncertainties. Will it inevitably become 'the next GM'? Can new forms of public engagement take place 'upstream', at an early stage in R&D processes? How can we strengthen the reflective capacity of nanoscientists to address social, ethical and political questions?

    James Wilsdon is Head of Strategy at Demos and co-author of 'See-through Science: why public engagement needs to move upstream' (Demos 2004).

  • The Relationship Between the Financial European Regulation and National Regulators
    Professor Marie-Anne Frison-Roche
    Sciences Po, Paris
    15 March 2005


    Financial regulation at European level is moving towards the creation of a new integrated financial European market. In contrast with the network sectors, financial regulation was national before becoming European. But there is a distortion between the substantive rules, elaborated at the European Union level, and the institutional rules because regulators are still national. The specific issue (which is also a general one because it is also the case for the energy or telecommunications sectors) for the Regulatory system's efficiency is : must this distortion be only temporary ? Should the next step be to set up a European financial regulator, in application of a sort of general method which leads to adopting the same level for substantive rules and for institutions in charge with applying them. Or is this distortion efficient in itself, maybe more efficient than an articulation between European substantial rules and a European regulatory body ? Another purpose of this paper is to determine if the answer chosen for financial market regulation is valid or not also for the other sectors, leading to a more general question about the possibility of exporting a solution from one sector to another.

    First of all, the question regarding the need to set up a European financial regulator is a difficult one because of many arguments in one side and in the other. Despite the fact that substantive rules governing the financial market are now elaborated at a European level, I think that it would be not so efficient to build such a European regulator, notably because of political difficulties and of the necessity to create transectorial regulators, across the banking sector and the financial market sector, such as the F.S.A. in Great Britain. We must choose between an institutional horizontal integration (transectorial regulator) and an institutional vertical integration (transnational regulator). The first branch of this alternative is more important to fight the systemic risk, the principal goal of the financial regulatory system. In this sense, European financial integration is different from European monetary integration.
    Moreover, this distortion is the most efficient system because financial markets are impregnated by cultural rules, such as the tradition of corporate governance, and national regulators can obtain their consideration in the process of the elaboration of the European rules.

    But this distortion is only admissible if the system works. And it is working in the regulation of the financial markets, thanks to the Lamfalussy process and the comitology system. Through this very useful tool, Europe is being constructed more like a rhetorical circle than a hierarchical up-down line. In a sense, this construction is the contrary of the new institutional European Law for antitrust matters. The CESR is the right place to organize an effective cooperation between regulators in general and about particular cases. This regulatory system could be exported to other sectors, as long as it is not necessary to have a body able to react immediately in a event of a crisis, in the banking sector, for example, or regarding energy transportation risks.
    The next challenge for the financial market regulatory system is to constitute common principles of corporate governance, despite very different national traditions in national Company Laws, this cross-breeding being possible with national regulators adjusting their own tradition.

  • What is Law in the European Union? The Implementation of the European Union Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control
    Dr Bettina Lange
    Jean-Monnet Fellow, European University Institute
    15 February 2005


    The formal law in the books and official legal actors, such as the EU Commission and Courts have been a major focus for lawyers' and political scientists' conceptualisations and explanations of the role of law in EU integration. In this paper I analyse the significance of the law in action and technical staff in harmonising limits to emissions to air, water and land under the IPPC Directive. The paper critically examines whether normativity really generates integration and how it can be conceptualised. It suggests that the law in action - in particular the key obligation for mainly industrial operators to employ 'the best available techniques' in their plants - draws on subtle shifts and exchanges between frequently renegotiated and reconstructed notions of a social and a legal sphere. The paper traces how behavioural and discursive resources are mobilised for this law job.

  • Risk Transformation: a new era for chemicals regulation in the United States and Europe?
    Dr Arthur Daemmrich
    Chemical Heritage Foundation
    1 March 2005


    In the past decade, environmental risk management has undergone significant transformations in the United States and Europe. Regulation of the risks posed by chemicals and their manufacturing sites has shifted from a focus on emissions to products, and from surveying the environment for known toxins to mapping the 'body burdens' posed by uncharacterized compounds. Based on case studies of the high production volume (HPV) testing program and biomonitoring research, this talk argues that changes in the relationship among the chemical industry, environmental NGOs, and government regulators were instrumental to these shifts. As a consequence of increasingly collaborative frameworks in the United States, the ways in which risks are identified, defined and managed have undergone a transition from command-and-control regulation to a more collaborative model. In Europe, on the other hand, the program for registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals (REACH) is evidence of an emerging regulatory state that is replacing historically collaborative approaches with centralized controls and oversight. The talk concludes with observations on the future of international regulatory harmonization and an assessment of the increasing role played by environmental groups in both the United States and Europe.

  • Securities Analysts as Frame-Makers
    Daniel Buenza
    Universidad Pompeu i Fabra, Barcelona
    1 February 2005


    As Wall Street specialists in valuation, securities analysts offer a privileged opportunity to understand how investors grapple with extreme uncertainty. However, the academic literature on analysts is characterised by a puzzling discrepancy between theory and practice: while the theory provides a highly critical account of analysts, this professional category has survived and expanded for almost a century. In this paper we offer a possible explanation for this puzzle with an examination of the intermediary function performed by analysts. We undertake a grounded theory, qualitative content analysis of the reports on written by Henry Blodget and rival security analysts during 1998-2000, a choice of period that also allows us to examine the effect of analysts in creating the Internet bubble and the related regulatory debate. We find that the controversies among analysts during these years can be characterised as internally consistent networks of associations between categorisations, key metrics and analogies. We refer to these as calculative frames, and document how they structure interpretation, facilitate calculation and promote imitation. The findings suggest that analysts should be regarded as frame makers, specialised intermediaries that help investors attach numerical measures of value to stocks even in situations of extreme uncertainty.

  • Corporate Governance, Labour Regulation and Legal Origin: a case of institutional complementarity?
    Professor Simon Deakin
    University of Cambridge
    18 January 2005


    According to the influential work of La Porta et al., persistent divergences between national-level systems of corporate governance can be explained by reference to their legal origin, that is to say, their roots in one of the principal legal families. The contrast here is drawn between systems of the common law and those of the civil law, with the civilian world further subdivided into French-influenced, Germanic and Scandinavian groupings. The present paper examines the legal origin hypothesis with reference to one of its more recent applications, namely the regulation of labour. It is argued that legal origin may well be associated with the persistence of diversity across the 'varieties of capitalism', but not for the reasons offered by La Porta et al., which rest on an inaccurate characterisation of the common law/ civil law divide.


  • Science: a puzzling profession?
    Professor Robert Dingwall
    University of Nottingham
    November 2004


    This presentation will review some of my recent work on the sociology of professions, most of which has been published in places sufficiently obscure as to sneak under the radar of the rest of the field. In particular, it will look at some arguments that I have been developing about the need to give greater weight to the supply of professional regulation and about the particular relationships between this and areas of cultural and social uncertainty. This project has been particularly influenced by the writings of Adam Smith and Herbert Spencer. More recently, I have become interested in the implications of current thinking in the sociology of organizations on isomorphism and the extent to which professions are susceptible to the repertoire of pressures identified by DiMaggio and Powell in their classic discussion. The profession of science poses some interesting and neglected problems, which may be illuminated by this analysis. Current work in STS has written off the study of scientific workers and their organizations as part of its repudiation of the Mertonian paradigm and its assertion that STS is essentially a branch of the sociology of knowledge. For those of us old enough to have been trained in a more materialist intellectual world, this seems to leave aside important questions about the conditions under which knowledge is produced. While we may not want to resurrect Mertonianism, we may still want to acknowledge that it asked some good questions of continuing relevance. Who does science and under what conditions are important precursors to the important issues about how science may be regulated and made socially accountable without destroying the essence of what it does in dealing with innovation and uncertainty. Science is a profession without a license, in the legal sense. If anything, its organization seems to have more in common with medieval guilds, where masters - I use the gendered word advisedly - are surrounded by journeymen (and a few women) and apprentices. Guild membership follows recognition by the masters of the craft rather than the public processes that we are used to. This lack of a license, in the legal sense, seems to be raising problems for its license, in a social sense. There is an apparent public mistrust of science and scientists. Conventional, isomorphic, regulatory responses seem unlikely to be satisfactory. However, there are no obvious alternatives around. Listeners may want to consider whether this analysis also has implications for the academic profession more generally, although I do not necessarily plan to spell these out in the presentation.

  • Whistleblowing: A Theory with Application to Environmental Regulation
    Professor Anthony Heyes
    Royal Holloway College, University of London
    October 2004


    "Whistleblowing" is a common feature of our regulatory landscape, yet there is no formal economic model of it. We propose such a model and use it to explore how regulatory institutions should be designed to accommodate it. Sociological and psychological research in the area points to three alternative theories as to why individuals might disclose, even when such action is not in their (apparent) self-interest. Individuals who disclose may be conscience cleansers, altruistic, or punishment-motivated. The policy problem is to decide how frequently to pursue disclosures made by whistleblowers, how much protection to offer to whistleblowers, and how substantially to fine firms whose plans for wrong-doing are detected in this way. Not surprisingly, optimal policy depends upon the motives attributed to whistleblowers, but is not in general characterised by maximal penalties nor routine pursuit of complaints, even when pursuit is costless.

  • New Social Risks in Europe
    Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby 
    University of Kent
    October 2004


    European welfare states developed through the 'old social risks' that confronted citizens in ideal typical industrial society. As a result of the post-industrial transition, affecting labour markets, family life and the scope for government policy-making, new social risks have emerged onto the agenda. These concern integrating marginal groups into paid work, 'activation', family restructuring, and mechanisms for balancing domestic and employment responsibilities. The EU has a limited role in relation to old social risks, but is seeking leadership for the new risk agenda. The paper reviews recognition of and responses to new risks in a number of European countries and the implications for the politics of welfare. It is based on data from a recent EU FPV project: 'Welfare Reform and the Management of Societal Change'.

  • The Uncertain Promise of Risk
    Professor Pat O'Malley
    Canada Research Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice 
    Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada 
    May 2004


    Conventional debates over risk in criminal justice (and more generally) tend to fall into several traps. These include the assumption that diverse configurations of risk can be collapsed into a single category, to be contrasted en bloc with other approaches to government. However, by attending to the diversity of forms of risk we can begin to develop certain principles that could be put forward as tools for thinking about the promise and limitations of ways of governing by risk. Through contrasting actuarial justice with a number of other configurations of risk-centred government, such relevant issues emerge as whether specific techniques or risk are inclusive or exclusionary, whether they set up a zero-sum game between victims and offenders, and whether they polarize risk and uncertainty. While this is promising, the paper also concludes that a democratic politics of security may provide more promise than a politics of risk per se.


    Pat O'Malley is Canada Research Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Anthropology and of Law, at Carleton University. Until recently Professor of Law and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law and Management, and Director of the National Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at La Trobe University, Australia. He is the author and editor of many publications in the field of risk and security, and has been a member of various government bodies working in related areas of criminal justice, drug policy and crime prevention. He is an editor of the Cambridge University Press 'Law and Society' series, and serves on the editorial and advisory boards of many major international journals in the field. Much of his recent work has focused on the role of risk-based models in the government of social problems, including two edited collections: Crime and the Risk Society and Crime Prevention in Australia. Other recent published work has included field studies of drug dealing, analysis of the globalisation of legal sanctions, and theoretical examination of contemporary governance. In 2000 he was awarded the Sellin-Gleuck Award by the American Society of Criminology for outstanding contributions to the discipline. His new monograph on 'Risk, Uncertainty and Government' will be published by Cavendish Press in 2004.

  • Catastrophic Risk, Insurance and Terrorism 
    Professor Richard Ericson
    University of Oxford
    June 2004


    This seminar reports on an empirical investigation into how the terrorist activity of September 11, 2001, was addressed by the insurance industry and government in the United States. It shows that the insurance system worked reasonably well in compensating losses suffered, albeit with various tribulations. It also demonstrates that the insurance industry, along with government as the ultimate risk manager, imaginatively reconfigured markets to continue terrorism insurance coverage in many contexts. The findings challenge many of Ulrich Beck's contentions about catastrophe risks and insurability. At the same time, they indicate the fragility of the insurance system. Insurers' perceptions and decisions about uncertainty - with potential for windfall profits as well as catastrophic losses - create crises in insurance availability and promote new forms of inequality and exclusion. Hence, while the insurance industry is a central bulwark against uncertainty, insurers can also play a key role in fostering it.

  • Attitudes to the Risks and Benefits of Agricultural Biotechnology in Britain: the role of ambivalence 
    Professor Nick Pidgeon
    University of East Anglia 
    June 2004 


    The results of the recently concluded GMNation? Public Debate on the commercialisation of agricultural biotechnology in Great Britain raises a number of fundamental questions regarding existing public attitudes to this technology. We report findings from a major national GB survey (n=1,363) of public attitudes to the risks and benefits of GM food and crops conducted between 19 July and 12 September 2003, directly after the end of GMNation? Public Debate. Although many traditional quantitative studies construe 'attitudes' in all or nothing (i.e. bipolar) terms, previous qualitative work on the discourses surrounding GM agriculture highlights the important role of 'ambivalence'. This paper develops a classification of four ideal-type attitudinal positions towards GM food and crops, namely: positive, negative, ambivalent and indifferent. Using quantitative risk and benefit measures we demonstrate how the landscape of public attitudes to GM food and crops can be mapped. We find that the greatest proportion of respondents are ambivalent about GM food and crops, simultaneously endorsing risks and some benefits of this technology. Accordingly, we conclude that at the time of GM Nation? ambivalence dominated UK public attitudes, with, additionally, a significant skew towards the negative pole (a further significant group sees very high risks and very few benefits). The paper concludes by considering the theoretical implications of this analysis for theories of attitudinal ambivalence, as well as the implications of the findings for the outcomes of the GMNation? Public Debate. The research was facilitated by grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Notorious: risk differentiation in German third party motor insurance 
    Dr Reimund Schwarze
    Deutsches Institut fur Wirtscharftsforschung, Berlin
    June 2004


    This seminar talk discusses recent developments in third party liability insurance for motor vehicles. Specifically, it evaluates the preventive effects at the firm level of a variety of risk classification measures such as vehicle age, single driver bonus, garage holding etc. These new tariff criteria had been introduced in Germany in 1994 following the European third motor vehicle insurance directive. Based on ten years' observation little improvement can be found. This talk also considers the potential of using performance-related tariff criteria such as penalty points to improve the preventive effects of risk classification in this field.

  • Accountability and Institutional Design: some thoughts on the grammar of governance 
    Professor Jerry Mashaw
    Yale Law School
    May 2004


    Accountability is a protean concept, a placeholder for multiple contemporary anxieties. Worried about the arrogance and inefficiency of government bureaucrats? The problem, as conventionally stated, is that unelected bureaucrats are not politically or economically accountable. Shocked that private contractors are running prisons, dispensing welfare benefits and planning defence strategies? That alarm is almost certainly traceable to the suspicion that placing these activities in private hands allows them to escape the political and legal accountability processes that normally surround exercises of domestic public power.

    My first objective, therefore, is to argue for a way of thinking about accountability that provides some analytic purchase when sorting through myriad claims of accountability deficits, and to present a partial taxonomy of accountability regimes. The paper then seeks to illustrate the way this conceptual framework of accountability, a sort of grammar of governance for addressing accountability issues, can be deployed in a contemporary arena of increasing importance and widespread dispute: contracted out governance. I have chosen to highlight two subjects, privatised prisons, and contracted out adjudication of disability claims, in order to illustrate two general points about accountability and institutional design. The first, the prisons case, illustrates how careful attention to design can ameliorate accountability problems that at first blush might seem so substantial as to foreclose serious consideration of contracted out governance in this arena. The second, disability adjudication, is intended to illustrate the complex interrelationship of different forms of accountability in a highly contracted out system, along with some of the difficulties and unanticipated accountability consequences of particular design choices.

  • The British Regulatory State: high modern or post modern?
    Professor Michael Moran
    University of Manchester
    May 2004


    For most of the twentieth century British government was among the least innovative in the advanced industrial world. For the last thirty years it has been a pioneer on all fronts. The paper examines this transformation, seeks to explain it, and links it to wider debates about the changing character of regulation and governance.

  • Corporate Social Responsibility as a new Self Regulation
    Ben Hunt
    Author, The Timid Corporation
    April 2004


    In 1995, the oil company Shell set a precedent for future behaviour when it decided to reverse its decision to dump the oil storage platform, Brent Spar, into the sea. This early example of corporate social responsibility (CSR) illustrated how a moral duty to do 'the right thing' replaced more reasoned, scientific criteria for making decisions. Nearly 10 years on, we see that notions of corporate social responsibility are influencing business behaviour like never before. Food companies are reducing the fat content of their products, and drinks manufacturers are telling their customers to drink more responsibly. Retailers withdraw products from the shop floor, from bullets to sun tan lotion, in an effort to show moral responsibility. Companies send their employees on diversity training courses and encourage them to learn ethical codes of conduct. Internationally, multinationals pull out of infrastructure projects and emerging markets on the grounds of CSR. Elsewhere, virtually all corporations today strive to be more transparent and accountable, improve social, environmental and ethical performance and engage in better stakeholder relations. Yet is CSR a progressive development? It is arguable that CSR is a response to a more insecure, mistrustful society that tends to see all industrial activity from the one-sided perspective of harm and risk, and is disillusioned with reasoned debate. In forging CSR practices, companies have told themselves they must 'listen to society' and 'restore trust', but this is leading to negative consequences. An inflexible dogma of social or moral responsibility is replacing pragmatism and commonsense in decision-making. For instance, corporations may not be responsible for problems concerning personal behaviour. Second, we are creating very defensive, overly cautious economic institutions, to the detriment of society. For instance, companies might unnecessarily withdraw from new technologies or worthwhile investments in the name of responsibility. Third, the framework of CSR is in danger of undermining democratic forums for addressing social problems.

  • Getting to Grips with Regulatory Quality: Definitions and Measures
    Professor Claudio Radaelli
    Bradford University
    March 2004


    Recent regulatory reforms in Europe have focused on 'good regulation' and 'regulatory quality'. Yet policy-makers who have sought to import specific instruments and 'new' approaches to law-making from their original Anglo-Saxon context to other European contexts have found it difficult to scratch below the surface of new public management rhetoric and implement successful programmes. One reason for that is that the notions of quality that circulate in the current debate are insensitive to context. Another is that 'success' means different things to the politician, the bureaucrat, and the technocrat. This paper - focused on regulatory impact assessment, RIA - explains the diffusion of RIA in continental European countries by using as explanatory variables 'context' and the interaction between different logics in RIA. Context, in turn, has four dimensions.

    The first dimension deals with institutional and administrative context. The difference between the US and European context account for hybridisations and changes in the diffusion of RIA in Europe. The second dimension is territorial. In the EU, the territorial dimension of RIA is associated to multi-level governance. Drawing on similarities and differences between US regulatory federalism and EU multilevel regulatory governance, the paper will highlight the limitations, trade-offs, and dilemmas faced by impact assessment in the EU. The third contextual dimension refers to the theory of the policy process and the role of the three logics therein. Most European RIA programmes are based on a simplistic rational-synoptic view of the policy process. Although Bayesian learning could provide a solid foundation of RIA programmes, most European guides to impact assessment and the new Commission's system of integrated impact assessment are still based on incomplete models of regulatory politics and learning. The fourth dimension arises out of the balance between methodology, efficiency, and legitimacy.

    More info: Full paper (PDF) and Presentation (PowerPoint)

  • Law as a Last Resort: prosecution decision-making in a regulatory agency
    Professor Keith Hawkins
    Oxford University
    March 2004


    In almost all types of legal disputing formalities are employed only as a last resort. Case attrition is a constant feature in the legal system, whether criminal or civil, since pre-trial negotiations are employed to search for solutions to problems that avoid the costs, risks, and delays of trial. Exploring these issues asks questions about the public face of law and the meaning of formal processes, for to prosecute is to enforce the law in both a public and a dramatic way. Hawkins' research outlines and applies a theory of legal decision-making in the context of the regulation of occupational health and safety. It focuses on the forces acting on the creation, handling, and disposal of cases in a regulatory agency, addressing in particular the conditions under which legal officials deal with a problem by electing the public and consequential - but highly unusual - course of going to court.

    Using extensive sets of data collected over a fifteen-year period and privileged access to staff of the UK Health and Safety Executive at all levels of seniority, the research analyses decisions at different levels, including those made generally about policy and specifically about individual cases. It shows that although law may be introduced for ostensibly instrumental purposes (advancing the public interest to preserve and protect the health and safety of people in the workplace), the legal process is ultimately imprinted with expressive concerns reflecting symbolic or organizational values and interests.

  • The Ensuring State and Modes of Regulation
    Professor Gunnar Folke Schuppert
    Social Science Research Centre, Berlin
    February 2004


    I. The Ensuring State
    The Concept of the "Ensuring State" develops on, but is significantly different from, the idea of the 'enabling state' that has been central to much of the thinking that has guided state reform during the last two decades. The 'ensuring state' emphasises the responsibility of the state in areas where non-state agents play a dominant role in the provision of public services. It argues that there exists a public responsibility 'after enabling' and that there are certain guarantees that the state has a moral and political responsibility to provide. Even if public goods or services are provided by private of third sector organisation and bodies, the state still has a major role in ensuring these public goods, whether it is by audit, regulation or funding.

    The concept of the ensuring state:

    • does not call for the 'retreat' of the state
    • takes for granted a continuing state responsibility for the common good
    • rejects the idea that changes in statehood reduce state responsibility

    An ensuring state must recognise that changes in statehood actually imply changes in the modes, style and instruments of governance, not a rejection of responsibility.

    II. The Ensuring State as a Regulatory State
    At its heart, modern governance means the business of regulation - simply because without installing an appropriate regulatory framework, the ensuring state will not function.

    If the changing role of the state is to be described in terms of categories of responsibility, ranging from performance to ensuring responsibility, this move must be accompanied by a regulatory framework. We need a mechanism that allows a switch between the state's performance responsibility and its ensuring responsibility. This new form of responsibility changes the style and instruments of public policy, but does not abandon the obligation public authorities have to guarantee the effectiveness of privatised or partly privatised public services.

    III. A Theory of Regulatory Choice
    It is quite common when discussing the appropriateness of different forms of regulation to judge these in terms effectiveness or organisation fit. However, when we discuss how we should regulation, only very rarely do we attempt to distinguish between different 'producers of law'. We must, therefore, add to our theories of instrumental and organisational choice a discussion of the evolution of a theory of regulatory choice. It is only by supplementing existing approaches with a sensitivity to the evolution of regulation that we will be able to evaluate the appropriate regulatory regime for any particular problem. Here, we can work with a very simple range of types:

    Types of Regulation

    • Classical hierarchical regulation
    • Regulated self-regulation
    • Self-regulation

    Here, the most interesting type of regulation identified above is 'regulated self-regulation', as it represents the most appropriate form of regulating the complex relationship between the public, private and third sector in today's societies. The reform of public services should, for example, be accompanied by modernised law making. According to the concept of 'legal pluralism', an approach that has evolved since the internationalisation and globalisation of the nation-state, a theory of regulation has to give guidance in situations of 'regulatory choice'. New forms of regulatory regimes - like 'Co-Regulation' at the European level - might facilitate this form of 'governance with society' to evolve.

  • Rules and Discretion in the Design of a Procurement System
    Dr Steve Kelman
    Harvard University 
    January 2004


    The author of this paper was responsible, as a public management professor on leave from Harvard University from l993-97, for an effort significantly to de-regulate the process by which government procures goods and service, part of the "reinventing government" program of the Clinton Administration. The paper discusses both conceptual/philosophical/jurisprudential arguments for greater reliance on rules versus greater room for discretion in the management of government procurement (and by extension to other areas of government regulation and/or public management) and the specifics of de-regulation in the context of public procurement in the US. The presentation will also contrast administrative law versus public management approaches to the government's regulation of itself.


  • Decentralisation of European Economic Law. Two Models: Competition Law and Financial Services Law
    Dr Myriam Senn
    Swiss Federal Banking Commission 
    December 2003


    As of today, the enforcement of European economic law, in particular of financial services and competition law, has not been satisfactory with regard to the goal of harmonisation. New rules should improve the situation in the future. In competition law a regulation on the implementation of the rules on competition will introduce a decentralised system of law enforcement. In financial services law the revised investment services directive proposes the introduction of a four-level enforcement model, which represents another model of decentralised regulation. The analysis examines these regulatory structures of decentralised incentives mechanisms taking into account that decentralisation raises issues in relation to complexity, fragmentation, interdependency and governance. On the basis of this analysis, decentralisation as an alternative to centralised or command and control procedures is evaluated. It is argued that there is little incentive to follow centralised regulatory procedures. The consistent and uniform application of law is better ensured with decentralised regulatory structures, which as a matter of fact can appear in a wide set of forms including self-regulation. Finally, the case is made for relying on decentralised incentive mechanisms in economic law.

  • Beyond National Styles of Regulation - Genetically Modified Food in Germany and in the United States
    Astrid Epp
    Bielefeld University
    November 2003


    The so-called transatlantic divide on biotechnology cannot only be observed in the amount of public uproar over the introduction of GM Food but also in the regulatory approaches to the issue. At first sight, and very general, the legal regulations in the United States seem to be less strict than on this side of the Atlantic.

    National differences in the legal regulation of a seemingly identical issue are predominantly 'explained' by referring to the particular regulatory style of a given country. But instead of explaining why different objects of regulation are characterised by different styles, the national styles approach simply seems to state that there are differences. Thus, instead of revealing what the observable differences between two countries are about, the national style approach itself seems to be in need of an explanation. This paper therefore will present a comparison of the different regulatory approaches to GM Food in Germany and in the United States beyond the 'national styles approach'.

    Instead it will be argued that by focusing on the interorganisational networks, which emerge around a given issue, a more appropriate understanding of the regulatory process itself can be achieved. As 'regulation' can then be conceptualised as a complex interplay of a legal rule, its addressees (organisations) and the given issue, the differences that occur at the surface can finally be traced back to differences in this very interplay. This hinted organisational-based concept of regulation at least aims to overcome the territorial trap in comparative research on regulation.

  • Regulation of the NHS in England
    Mr Gwyn Bevan
    Office for Improvement on Health Care Performance
    November 2003


    In 1997, the New Labour government laid out its policies to replace what was seen as outright competition of the 'internal market' with a 'third way' that offered a more collaborative approach. The policy implemented for NHS organisations in England, emphasised two instruments of regulation: clinical governance and performance (star) ratings. Clinical governance is a system of steps and processes to ensure that patients receive care of high quality. Each organization was, from 2001, subject to reviews of clinical governance by the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI). Performance (star) ratings are typically based on three elements: key targets, a wider set of indicators (in the "balanced scorecard"); and results of CHI's reviews of clinical governance. These were first published by the Department of Health in 2001 (for acute and specialist hospitals). In 2002, CHI took over responsibility for the development and production of ratings, and published these for all types of NHS hospitals, ambulances and Primary Care Trusts in 2003. From April 2004, CHI will be replaced by a new inspectorate with wider powers: the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI). New government policies being introduced from 2003-04 emphasise patient choice and payment by results (funding providers for service volumes at standard costs). The objective of this seminar is to consider regulatory issues raised by performance ratings and these new policies.

  • Governance without Governments? The Case of the Internet
    Dr Raymund Werle
    Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
    October 2003


    The Internet evolved in a niche in which it was promoted and only loosely controlled by the (US) government. It has developed into a global network that challenges the traditional nation-based governance institutions. But the popular notion that governments have lost control over the network is misleading. We observe the evolution of new procedures and institutions of control in which governments play different roles but are rarely completely absent. Based on a typological distinction concerning the scope and nature of control (coordination and regulation) the role of governments is analysed. With the central focus on basic operational and infrastructural functions it is argued that the un-centralised Internet is governed by a patchwork of organisations and institutions in which hierarchical, network and market modes of control appear to be balanced. This balance can be disturbed by too much as well as too little government intervention.

  • Materiality and Performativity of Calculation
    Dr Herbert Kalthoff
    European University Viadrina, Frankfurt Institute for Transformation Studies
    October 2003


    No matter what kind of activity actors in the economic field are engaged in they are always confronted with specific risk factors which may all result in loss of money and loss of market potential. In a different vein, economic actors portray themselves as using standardised representation devices. Within the assessment of risk as well as within the context of practices of economic self-representation calculation plays a major role. Two different layers of calculation have to be taken into account. One layer is the role of technological instruments (e.g. computer networks and software) and the other one the role of representation devices, that is writing (e.g. formulas and models). Therefore, economic sociology combines the analysis of technology with the analysis of operative writing.

    Instrumental accounts of technology focusing on social, political and economic domination have stressed that technological artefacts transform human actors into their appendages, manipulating them constantly and to their own discretion. Studies in the field of "Science and Technology Studies", on the other hand, have focused on the social construction of technical artefacts, showing that the forms of knowledge underlying these construction processes are themselves socially constructed and have evolved through a long historical process within which they come to prevail over other technical artefacts. The main question concerning the relationship between nature and society and, furthermore, between human and non-human agency has been shifted by the actor-network theory, arguing that social life cannot be explained by arguments referring to social aspects alone. The paper broadens this picture by referring to the later work of Martin Heidegger and his philosophy of technology (the Gestell [enframing]). Its aim is to raise the question of how economic sociology has to conceive the activities of framing which constitute calculation and which are performed by different agencies and practices.

    If the analysis of technology constitutes one part of the analysis of calculation, the analysis of the medium - operative writing - by which calculation is performed constitutes the second part. The architecture of writing produces and presents coherence and constitutes the perception of empirical objects by the interplay of cognitive processes and the production of visibility. The constitution of empirical objects by visualisation means that the written visualisation actually produces the objects. This is to say that what is represented by financial models or formulas is brought into existence by the representation itself because operative writing produces and suggests a certain view on the social or economic activities observed. In this sense the connections are not between financial objects, but between theoretical objects which are brought into a distinct relation and expressed by mathematical, algebraic language.

    Thus, the aim of the paper is to describe the frame and activities of framing performed by technological artefacts and the medium of calculation.

  • Containing negative integration? The European politics of 'services publics'
    Professor Adrienne Héritier
    European University Institute
    July 2003
  • Regulation and Human Genomics
    Dr Oliver James
    University of Exeter
    June 2003


    This seminar assesses the framework for providing UK Government with advice about human genomics, particularly advice about regulation. There are a range of bodies involved in this activity but the seminar focuses on the operation of the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) which was established in 1999 as the UK Government's advisory body on how new developments in human genomics will impact on people and health care, in particular the social and ethical issues raised by these developments.

    The HGC contains a number of innovations in response to controversy about advisory systems, particularly in the light of controversy over food safety. The seminar focuses on these innovations in the HGC's current work producing advice about the regulation of human reproductive genomics.

  • Misfortune, Insurance, and the Liberal State: the perplexities of fairness
    Professor Eugene Bardach
    University of California, Berkeley
    May 2003


    The modern liberal state compensates citizens for a wide variety of misfortunes. These range from being victim of an earthquake to being a single parent in poverty to having a new highway disrupt your neighbourhood. I am currently at work on a book that takes a policy designer's perspective on this broad array of policies. In my seminar I will present the outlines of the theory to be developed in the book as a whole, and will apply it to one particular misfortune: being the victim of a terrorist attack.

    Any compensation policy implicitly or explicitly contains answers to three big questions: For what? How much? To whom? The answers must be evaluated against several design criteria, of which the most important are optimal prevention and fairness. In this seminar I focus on the latter, and particularly on the dimension of fairness which answers the three big questions by prescribing proportionality to moral deservedness. My main purpose in the book is to analyse the relative virtues and limitations of four proportionality theories, based respectively on empathy, social solidarity, insurance, and restitution.

    No proportionality theory, of course, can remain perfectly intact in the real world of coalition-formation, pluralistic bargaining, and rent-seeking. When policy designers decide what is morally fair, they must also consider what is sustainable politically and under realistic conditions of implementation.

  • Risk regulation and interest accommodation in European pharmaceuticals' licensing
    Dr Jürgen Feick
    Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
    May 2003


    Pharmaceuticals are considered one of or even the most densely regulated products, market entry licensing being a strategically important regulatory subfield. Close to the phase of marketing, licensing is the first decisive hurdle to be crossed by a pharmaceutical enterprise in order to recover its research, development and regulatory costs for a new product. Furthermore, regulatory bodies thus determine the medicinal arsenal available to the medical profession, the therapeutical spectrum to be offered to potential patients and the risks patients have to take when consuming pharmaceuticals. Indirectly regulatory outcomes can have important effects on national pharmaceutical industries. Thus, pharmaceuticals' licensing - and pharmaceuticals' regulation in general - has high political salience not only in terms of health policy, but also of economic and industrial policy.

    What, in hindsight, seems to be an almost logical regulatory development resulting from rational problem solving behaviour, is in fact the result of historical struggles for social reputation, regulatory power and economic gains. And what can be viewed today as an assessment and decisions-making process largely driven by scientific and technical considerations, making this regulatory field an especially convincing candidate for international conversion or even - as in the case of the EU - supranational regulatory institutions, actually allows much leeway for the discretionary utilisation of regulatory authority and the influence of diverse interests.

    The European Community is a good example to illustrate these tensions between the scientification of regulatory decision-making, convergence under the heading of harmonisation and integration, and the influence of political and economic interests in shaping policy outputs and their implementation. The current simultaneous existence of three different regulatory procedures for pharmaceuticals' licensing within the European Community is a case in point: They are the result of interest-driven political influence and are accommodating a diverse universe of interests.

  • Asymmetrical Actors and Intentional Risk
    Professor Frank Furedi
    University of Kent at Canterbury
    May 2003


    Differential cultural attitudes towards risk-taking have a crucial bearing on the impact of asymmetrical threat. It is not simply the case that asymmetric actors regard risk-taking from the vantage point of an opportunity, the very risk-averse culture of their target society may encourage them to exploit this difference in attitudes.

    Officials concerned with reassuring a risk-conscious public may well become distracted from the task from preparing society to deal with asymmetric threat. In some cases, official reassurance can actually amplify the public's sense of insecurity, and in others, governmental warning can actually serve to intensify public fears.

    Asymmetric threats today are principally non-material and non-technological factors such as an asymmetrical relationship towards time and space, an asymmetry of will, an asymmetry of cultural attitudes, an asymmetry towards risk-taking and an asymmetry in vulnerability. This paper will examine the impact of these five variables on the constitution of contemporary asymmetric risk.

  • Enterprise Risk Management: lessons from the field
    Professor William Shenkir and Professor Paul Walker
    University of Virginia
    March 2003


    Since the late 1980s policy makers in industrialised countries call for more self-regulation by industry regarding the protection of the environment. This is reflected on a EU level in the EMAS directive (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) and in several earlier initiatives in some of the member states of the European Union. Also this policy has triggered a number of self-regulatory activities by industry in the EU as well in the United States. For example, the chemical industry introduced its international Responsible Care programme. Governments learn to adapt to the special structural and cultural needs of firms in enhancing their environmental performances. Forms of self-regulation are now being stimulated, although at the same time command and control strategies, such as permit issuing and the enforcement of environmental rules, are not forgotten. In the Netherlands more and more co-regulatory arrangements are being created. Apart form voluntary agreements between central government and industrial associations, on a regional and local levels governments are experimenting with co-regulation through a negotiating and consulting process resulting in a more flexible permit. Having participated for some years as a researcher in the permitting process between Amsterdam municipal officials and representatives of an R&D plant of an oil firm I observed this process leading to a new kind of relationship, based on trust and professional experience on both sides. This process of transactions between two parties has considerable consequences for the enforcement of environmental regulations by government and for the participation of public interest groups (PIGs) regarding governmental decision-making. The ISO 14001 standard and the EMAS-regulation of the EU (Community regulation on Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) both regulate the process of companies developing environmental management systems on a voluntary basis.

    The advantages of this ´smart´ regulation are the creation of a better understanding between regulator and regulated and better performance by companies (and even increased revenues as a result of their improved performance).

    There are also more negative feelings. Some companies think the negotiating process takes too much time. Some prefer the old fashioned command and control strategies. Some are not too happy about the flexible conduct of government, if this means government does not follow up with control visits, and in that way is loosing contact.

    Some of the questions to be answered in this seminar are:

    • In what way EMSs have been successful in the UK compared to the Dutch situation?
    • Which particular strategy has been followed, a more self-regulatory or a ore co-regulatory approach ?
    • Is the implementation of an EMS itself a necessary or sufficient condition for real environmental improvement?
    • What motivates facilities to adopt a certified EMS?

    Some methodological questions about researching EMSs and co-regulation will also be raised during the seminar.

  • The Stock Exchange Men and Their Marvellous Instruments: price-recording technologies, knowledge and the origins of modern market organisation
    Dr Alex Preda
    University of Konstanz
    February 2003


    A key aspect of modern financial markets is given by securities prices as standardised, easily available, real-time information. This informational character entirely depends on price-recording technologies. I examine here the emergence of price-recording technologies in the later nineteenth century, the cognitive and cultural assumptions of these technologies, how they changed financial markets, the risk and regulatory issues they raised. Using an approach developed in the sociology of knowledge and science, I argue that price-recording technologies have consequences which go well beyond the mere increase in speed and efficiency.

    Nowadays, only one of these technologies survives in its electronic form-the ticker. In the 1860s, however, several price-recording technologies were developed, working on quite different principles. Along with varieties of the stock ticker, developed in North America, there was the "pantograph" developed and used on the Paris Bourse. The "pantograph" worked like a primitive fax machine (a chemical telegraph), while the stock ticker was a mechanical telegraph. Their cognitive and cultural assumptions, way of working, and effects were quite different, although they were conceived to answer similar needs. Technically speaking, the "pantograph" was universally acknowledged at the time as the more sophisticated machine, with some clear technical advantages in transmission. Dr Preda examines how the ticker became dominant and how it changed the ways in which financial markets work. From its inception, the ticker raised organisational, regulatory, and control issues and provoked social conflicts at the Stock Exchange. The regulatory and control issues which emerged with the ticker can still be found in contemporary financial markets.

  • Exam Howlers or Accidents Waiting to Happen?: a comparison of the regulatory implications of the exam results debacles in Scotland 2000 and England 2002
    Professor Brian W. Hogwood
    University of Strathclyde
    February 2003


    The presentation compares the regulatory implications of two highly politically salient exam-marking crises in the context of formal ministerial accountability to parliaments, blame-shifting, and 'alphabet soups' of bodies varying in formal status from government department, non-ministerial department, executive agency, statutory non-departmental public body, 'advisory' committees carrying out executive functions, and a range of nominally private bodies, some of which are carrying out 'public' functions. Among the issues introduced are monitoring and regulation in the context of (flawed) change management and separation of regulatory functions from others such as curriculum development and exam-setting and marking.

  • Communities of Practice and the Politics of Conflict in EU Problem-Solving
    Mr Damian Chalmers
    January 2003


    Regulation and the European Community enjoy a mutually constitutive relationship. On the one hand, regulation is what the European Community spends most of its time doing. On the other, the scale of the Community's regulatory activities have made it possibly the central arena in gauging the nature of regulation within the United Kingdom today. Yet, the Commission White Paper on Governance suggests a crisis in EC regulation. It is often poor quality and lacks broader support. The solution suggested both in EC documents and more general regulatory debates is broadening participation. This will enhance the quality of debate, disseminate knowledge of the issues and incorporate dissenting voices.

    Unfortunately, experiments in deliberative democracy have unerringly shown them to lead to poor policies. They are inefficient, exacerbate existing asymmetries of power and polarise views. This is, in part, because deliberative models take a lazy of the communicative process. They provide no discussion of central institution of their political model. For talk, per se, is not a good but is rather informed by the performative, institutional and epistemic contexts that surround any communication. That is to say any utterance must be with a view to something, take place in a particular setting and be based on certain shared understandings.

    Regulation is a form of government that equates politics with problem-solving. It draws a particular relationship between the policy process and knowledge in which the latter is used to structure and legitimate the policy-process. Politics becomes centred around the generation and application of knowledge. Reforming regulation is therefore an exercise in the politics of knowledge.

    If the task of regulation is to contribute the generation of knowledge then, the social psychology literature informs us that the best settings for this are 'communities of practice' - informal discrete groups characterised by mutual trust, shared episteme, joint enterprise. Knowledge-generation is therefore a polarised, pluralized process that is characterised not by consensus, but, insofar as it is imposed by selective and self-selecting groups, by cleavage and conflict.

    It is not possible for law to 'democratise' this process by reconstituting it. Instead, it can impose procedures over how choices are made between different types of knowledge and suggest broad norms that all forms of knowledge should address. In this there is the structural difficulty that any site is more receptive to some forms of knowledge than others and that any choice necessarily creates new asymmetries of power and hegemonies.

    In this regard the EC enjoys a potential comparative advantage in the institutional and epistemic constraints it can impose over this process. Institutionally, the multilevel nature of EU governance creates a series of different sites at the various stages of the policy process, each of which imposes checks and balances upon the other. Each site is receptive to different forms of knowledge, is responsive to different constituencies and has different tasks. These sites, deliberatised' serve to refract and impose internal checks and balances upon each other.

    Epistemically, the EC suggests a favoured mode of discourse, namely that one should deliberate in a 'European' way. The political process should be governed by the ideals of deliberation as understood by the European tradition. It will be argued that the value of deliberative democracy lies in its suggesting four ideals that any decision (and, as a corollary, any debate) should address - those of transformation, validity, solidarity and self-government. These ideals not only have more meaning in a 'regulatory world' than the discourse of liberal freedoms or utilitarianism but come with an established European pedigree.


  • Too Much Ice Cream or Tigers in the Bushes? Adversarial legalism as the American 'way of law'
    Professor David Nelken
    University of Macerata, Italy; Cardiff University, University of Wales and LSE
    December 2002


    David Nelken will offer a critical discussion of Robert Kagan's latest book 'Adversarial Legalism- the American way of Law' published by Harvard University Press in 2001.

    The book claims that the USA suffers from an excess of adversarial legalism and needs to learn from Europe (including the UK) how to employ sounder methods of governance and regulation. Nelken will consider whether Kagan's contrast between the USA and the rest is convincing, and link this kind of endeavour to the question of how best to research 'legal culture' in a comparative context.

  • Herding Towards a New Convention: on herds, shepherds, and lost sheep in the liberalisation of the telecommunications and electricity industries
    Dr David Levi-Faur
    University of Manchester and University of Oxford
    November 2002


    While there is growing recognition of the role of emulation in the policy process in general and in policy transfer in particular there are only limited efforts to model it in a systematic way. This paper takes this challenge through a temporal analysis of the role of contagion in the diffusion of liberalisation across countries and sectors. In many political situations one's choice is determined not only by one's own preferences and information but largely by signals of others.

    This paper suggests that this is the situation where many public officials found themselves when they had to consider the option of liberalising their country's infrastructure. It offers a formal model where one's preferences, strategies and payoffs are dependent on others and where political and policy outcomes are the result of imitation and contagious behaviour. The model aggregates three models that operate on different levels of analysis and rarely if at all are brought together. It rests first on herd models that were developed in the discipline of economics and supply micro-level analysis of the incentives for herding. Second, it rests on Granovetter's threshold model of captures the number or proportion of others that must make a decision before a given actor does so. Third, on diffusion models that were developed mostly by sociologists to capture macro-aspects of the spread of new technologies, information, drugs, fashions and the like. The model applies to any country that proceeded towards liberalisation after taking cues from all or some of the earliest cases of liberalisation. In doing so the model complements top-down and bottom-up explanations of the spread of liberalisation across the world.

  • Technologies With(out) Programmes: exploring the roles of accounting within webs of public management regulation
    Professor Fabrizio Panozzo
    Universita' ca' Foscari di Venezia
    October 2002


    The distinction between programmes and technologies plays a central role in the interpretation of the status of accounting in organisations and societies. The international spread of public management reforms, claimed to advance the visibility and calculability of behaviours, and results, has been widely regarded as a primary example of the powerful association between the rise of accounting expertise and the transformation of technologies of government, namely the broader political objectives and social values of control and evaluation.

    In the area of 'New Public Management'-inspired reforms comparative studies of the public sector have pointed to the 'widespread penetration' of 'new' accounting techniques. Despite much hype about advancing efficiency, effectiveness and 'action at distance', traditional forms of compliance accountability continue to dominate more managerial, result-driven approaches towards administrative change. In contrast to common law countries, civil law countries have tended to escape much of the so-called audit explosion.

  • The 2001 Foot and Mouth Crisis: an object lesson in regulatory failure
    Professor David Campbell and Professor Bob Lee
    Cardiff University
    October 2002


    It is universally accepted that the 2001 foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic was inadequately managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF; later the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)). In this paper we will argue that even the most swingeing criticisms so far made of MAFF's performance do not appreciate the extent of the regulatory failure which the FMD epidemic represents. It is not merely that MAFF handled the epidemic badly, though there can be no doubt its performance was abysmal; much more importantly it was MAFF that caused the epidemic.

    The disease control regime established under the Animal Health Act 1981 makes such control a public good, the responsibility for which is placed upon MAFF (and other public agencies). Farmers are expected to co-operate with zoosanitary measures, but have little exposure either to the direct costs of such measures or to the consequential costs of loss of livestock due to disease, for which they will be compensated. This regime is not incentive compatible, for in it the costs of FMD are made external to the pricing of livestock rearing practices by farmers. The practices developed under this regime have proven to be sufficient to turn an inevitable outbreak of FMD into the greatest epidemic of the disease ever recorded.

    FMD is an extremely contagious disease of cloven-footed animals sporadically endemic in most areas of the world where livestock are reared. Its suppression in the UK and the EU has required very extensive post-war public investment. Since 1990, FMD control in the EU has been based on the 'stamping out' policy whereby local outbreaks are eliminated by the slaughter of infected and seriously at-risk animals.

    Stamping out can work cost-effectively only if outbreaks are localised. But the livestock rearing practices adopted under the public disease control regime, which included millions of long-distance live animal movements, could hardly have more effectively spread the disease if they been designed to do so. By the time the 2001 outbreak was confirmed, it had been spread to 57 locations across the UK. MAFF was never able to catch up with the outbreak, and stamping out became more or less indiscriminate, panic slaughter as 10 million animals were killed, probably 90% of which were uninfected, in one of the most disgusting policy failures of modern times (a distinction which has to be earned against very stiff competition).

    That the history of the epidemic is one of wasted public expenditure, despicably cruel mass slaughter, uncompensated harm to third parties such as those in the tourism industry and living near funeral pyres, etc is coming to be known, and MAFF's incompetence criticised. But that it was MAFF's disease control policy that caused the epidemic that had these catastrophic results is not as yet acknowledged. In the absence of this acknowledgement, the very same policy failures are being repeated and the conditions of a new epidemic being put in place again.

  • Ideologies of Risk and Regulation
    Dr Charles Dannreuther
    University of Leeds
    June 2002


    Risks, and the regulatory mechanisms required to manage them, have become defining characteristics of contemporary governance. Closely associated with these politics has been the rise of Third Way politics with its rejection of the traditional distinctions of left and right. But despite the significant electoral successes of Third Way politics over the last five years, it may be that the rejection of ideology as an organising principle has been premature. The consensus politics of Globalisation has been under the strain of international events, government has appeared aloof and ineffective and, while business enjoys good access to political decision making, labour looks better represented by the extreme right than the left.

    This paper examines the relationship between risk, regulation and ideology in two parts. In the first part it examines how ideologies can be seen in the relationship between risk and regulation. The discussion of the relationship between risks and regulation investigates the interaction between governed and governors in regulatory politics and the role that risk plays in maintaining that relationship. Risks have always been present in political and economic governance and so have been informed by political ideologies as much as any other policy. Ideologies have therefore been important in legitimating power relationships between regulators and risk bearers. Once the nature of the relationship has been outlined, the link between the regulators and the subjects that they define through their regulations can be explored further. For example, what assumptions do regulators assume inform the behaviour of a bearer of risk, and to what degree does this impart a particular identity onto those being regulated? To what degree does the process of risk identification reflect and sustain the authority of the regulators? It is suggested that the relationship between risks and regulation is mutually constitutive, an assertion discussed in relation to a brief review of literature on regulatory regimes. These relationships can be understood as ideologies and seen in relation to a range of ideological positions (e.g. relating to nationalism, liberalism, science).

    The second part of the paper asks when do the norms relating risks to regulation become ideological? Norms take on an ideological form when they place a premium on one way of looking at the world over another. This assertion is investigated through the representation of risk. The implication of representing a risk in a particular way is that it justifies particular forms of action and empowers new levels of governance over others. Thus the management of risks associated with globalisation has focused on an individualistic representation of agency which has led to a focus on regulation. Those who challenge notions of Globalisation, or the individualised reality that it supports, may argue for a regulatory response from a national level. The representation of risk is therefore a political decision before it becomes policy. Once regulatory decisions are made risks that are regulated at a regional or global level impose constraints on states and societies by disciplining political action and defining opportunities and alternatives. In a similar way, representing risks as either too complex or too sensitive for popular scrutiny leads to the "de-politicisation" of regulation and accusations of technocratic governance.

    The paper concludes by discussing how other forms of representation may offer alternative ideologies to the politics of regulation.

  • Corporations, Risk Management and the Environment
    Professor Neil Gunningham
    Australian National University
    May 2002


    In humankind's struggle to prevent further deterioration of its natural environment, the capitalist business corporation - typically thought of as a major source of that degradation - holds one of the keys to success. Scientists and environmentalists analyse and publicize environmental problems, and governments promulgate environmental laws and regulations. But it falls to business corporations to develop, finance and install pollution prevention technologies and practices.

    This seminar will summarise the findings of a recent study of the pulp and paper industry by Gunningham, Kagan and Thornton. The Gunningham et al study found that improvements in environmental performance over time were associated with increasingly stringent demands from legal and social actors. These improvements resulted in companies taking 'beyond compliance' actions. However, the degree to which compliance was exceeded was limited by the demands of the market. The study also found that legal, social, and economic demands have converged over time, so that they explain little of the current variation in environmental performance. Instead, variation in the commitments and attitudes of management appear to explain contemporary variation. Perceptions of how to address risk management are central. Corporate cost-benefit calculations for environmental actions are nowadays broader, and more sensitive to cultural and political values than the traditional model of firms as 'amoral calculators' would have us believe. But it is management that gives these cultural and political values breadth and life. Consequently, this seminar seeks to explore the following questions:

    • By what mechanisms do corporate management styles/commitments lead to improved environmental performance?
    • How do good corporate management styles/commitments to the environment arise?
    • Can improved management styles be facilitated or encouraged? And if so, how?
    • Under what circumstances, and by what mechanisms, can social actors most effectively take actions to improve the environmental performance of corporations?

    Can legal systems support effective social action? And if so, how can they do so most efficiently and effectively?

  • Regulation and Co-Regulation of Environmental Management in Industry
    Professor Marius Aalders
    University of Amsterdam
    May 2002


    Since the late 1980s policy makers in industrialised countries call for more self-regulation by industry regarding the protection of the environment. This is reflected on a EU level in the EMAS directive (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) and in several earlier initiatives in some of the member states of the European Union. Also this policy has triggered a number of self-regulatory activities by industry in the EU as well in the United States. For example, the chemical industry introduced its international Responsible Care programme. Governments learn to adapt to the special structural and cultural needs of firms in enhancing their environmental performances. Forms of self-regulation are now being stimulated, although at the same time command and control strategies, such as permit issuing and the enforcement of environmental rules, are not forgotten. In the Netherlands more and more co-regulatory arrangements are being created. Apart form voluntary agreements between central government and industrial associations, on a regional and local levels governments are experimenting with co-regulation through a negotiating and consulting process resulting in a more flexible permit. Having participated for some years as a researcher in the permitting process between Amsterdam municipal officials and representatives of an R&D plant of an oil firm I observed this process leading to a new kind of relationship, based on trust and professional experience on both sides. This process of transactions between two parties has considerable consequences for the enforcement of environmental regulations by government and for the participation of public interest groups (PIGs) regarding governmental decision-making. The ISO 14001 standard and the EMAS-regulation of the EU (Community regulation on Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) both regulate the process of companies developing environmental management systems on a voluntary basis.

    The advantages of this ´smart´ regulation are the creation of a better understanding between regulator and regulated and better performance by companies (and even increased revenues as a result of their improved performance).

    There are also more negative feelings. Some companies think the negotiating process takes too much time. Some prefer the old fashioned command and control strategies. Some are not too happy about the flexible conduct of government, if this means government does not follow up with control visits, and in that way is loosing contact.

    Some of the questions to be answered in this seminar are:

    • In what way EMSs have been successful in the UK compared to the Dutch situation?
    • Which particular strategy has been followed, a more self-regulatory or a ore co-regulatory approach ?
    • Is the implementation of an EMS itself a necessary or sufficient condition for real environmental improvement?
    • What motivates facilities to adopt a certified EMS?

    Some methodological questions about researching EMSs and co-regulation will also be raised during the seminar.

  • Risk Analysis and Behavioural Law and Economics
    Professor Anthony Ogus
    University of Manchester
    April 2002


    Traditional law-and-economics has provided major analytical tools for how risks should be assessed and, particularly through cost-benefit analysis, how the forms and institutions of legal interventions should be devised and managed. In theory, subjectivity is admitted into the analysis through the variable of risk-aversion, but in practice either individuals are treated as risk-neutral or some crude homogeneous degree of risk-aversion is assumed. In other respects, the approach is objective and, of course, based on rationality.

    "Behavioural law-and-economics" is an intellectual movement which has emerged in the last decade. It seeks to extend the sub-discipline by relaxing some of the key rationalist assumptions of neo-classical analysis and replacing them with predictions drawn from other disciplines, notably social psychology. Its applications to risk assessment and management are particularly important. So, for example, the "hindsight bias" (treating past history as inevitable) and the "availability heuristic" (rating the serious of the risk by how easily it comes to mind) show how individual behaviour diverges from the rational model.

    This new interdisciplinary literature has generated major insights which should clearly influence policymaking, but while its predictive dimension is compelling, its normative dimension remains problematic. Proponents of the analysis have not always been too explicit on how its implications are to affect legal principles and decision-making processes. In this paper Professor Ogus offers tentative suggestions as to how the principles and processes should adjust to the insights generated.

  • Common Knowledge, Coherent Uncertainties and Consensus
    Professor Yakov Ben-Haim
    Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    March 2002


    In conflicts or games, "common knowledge" refers to what one protagonist knows about another protagonist's knowledge. Common knowledge carries special strategic significance.


    SEARCH AND EVASION: If Bin Laden knows that the Americans know where Bin Laden is hiding, then this will significantly influence Bin Laden's behaviour.

    TEAMWORK: Collaboration requires information transfer, but this is costly. It is desirable to transfer just enough information for the recipient to perform his task, and for the sender to know that the recipient is triggered to act.

    CONSENSUS: When can people DISAGREE about the facts and yet still AGREE about what to do?
    In this talk we formulate common knowledge in the context of info-gap decision theory. We discuss three THEOREMS, whose meanings are:

    1. Knowledge is constricted as info-gap uncertainty grows.

    2. Complete common knowledge is possible only without uncertainty. Common knowledge trades off against uncertainty. This entails a temporal implication: limitation on foresight.

    3. Consensus is possible even if the parties have different knowledge. The limitation on the divergence of knowledge which does not jeopardize is expressed by the info-gap coherence functions.

  • Extreme Risks and the New Capital Allocation Charge for Operational Risk
    Dr Elena Medova
    University of Cambridge
    February 2002


    One of the principal objectives of the current Basel proposal is prevention of 'the low-probability, high-severity event that can produce losses large enough to threaten a financial institution's health' [McDonough, 1998]. The complexity of the originating causes for such events and the rare nature of significant losses lead us to capital allocation rules based on results from Extreme Value Theory. A desire to integrate operational risk capital provision with that for market and credit risks is another motivation for the proposed framework. Common definitions of market and credit risks assume 'normal' conditions and do not include extreme events. We define operational risk as a consequence of critical contingencies leading to extreme losses. Such operational risk is captured by losses that exceed some statistically defined threshold value. Our operational risk capital allocation rule is derived from the statistics of the loss process and provides an estimate for the excess capital provision over existing allocation for market and credit risk. A combined allocation of economic capital for market, credit and operational risks reinforces a risk sensitive approach to management corresponding to the firm's mix of business, performance and level of capitalization.

  • Fuzzy Legality and National Styles of Regulation: government intervention in the Israel downstream oil market
    Dr Margit Cohn
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    February 2002


    Even in today's fragmented regulatory world, legislative mandate is still considered an important component of regulatory packages. The presentation examines one aspect of the role of statute law in regulatory reality through the concept of "fuzzy legality". This concept serves as a collective title for six different regulatory techniques, all of which, although "perfectly legal", deviate in their operation from the ideal-type regulatory arrangement, which is presumably topped and dominated by legislative mandate. Under a veneer of legality, each of these practices may enable actors to accumulate covert and unaccountable gains.

    This framework is applied to a historical-institutional case-study of a crucial retail market. The history of state intervention in the Israeli downstream oil (supply) market is dominated by "fuzzy legality", which allowed the industry, acting in concert with the government regulator, to retain a lucrative, practically non-accountable arrangement in changing politico-economic climates. Three central forces encouraged the continuation of fuzziness: a "cloud" of state-security, institutional "stickiness" that preserved colonial Mandatory legal structures, and a prevalent national culture of non-legalism. The presentation ends with a careful suggestion regarding the Israeli national style of regulation. In contrast to American "adversarial legalism" and its opposite, "consensual non-legalism", the Israeli regulatory style may be capped "adversarial non-legalism", a style that shows less promise for balancing between market and public interests.

  • Evidence Based Versus Value Based Policy: some case studies in UK safety and environmental regulation
    Mr Michael Spackman
    CARR and National Economic Research Associates (NERA)
    January 2002


    The motives driving safety and environmental regulation are sometimes categorised as evidence-based (comparing social costs and benefits), value-based (ethical/political acceptability), or interest-based (e.g. NIMBY, or company profits). Within government, the main value-based drivers underlying the design and implementation of safety and environmental regulation regimes are usually those of lobby groups and the media. Recent years have seen a heightened, overt emphasis on "evidence-based policy", in parallel with a greater concern with spin and Government popularity. This produces a tension when evidence-based regulation is more difficult to sustain than highly extravagant, or less safe alternatives. This presentation examines these tensions in the context of recent publications of the HSC/HSE and of DETR/DEFRA, and practical examples including road and rail safety and radioactive discharges. It concludes that the current tendency is a drift away from evidence-based regulation, and that this is in part because of the lack of progress in integrating value-based drivers into an evidence-based framework.


  • Traders and the Management of Risk in Financial Markets
    Professor Paul Willman
    University of Oxford
    December 2001


    This seminar presentation will examine the management of traders in financial markets from the perspectives of agency and prospect theory. Using interview data from a sample of traders and managers in four investment banks, the presentation will argue that managers focus on avoiding losses rather than making gains. This focus emerges from the characteristics of managers and the nature of their role. The implications for agency and prospect theory, together with the policy issues for managers are discussed.

  • Governance, Risk and Modernising Government
    Professor Joyce Tait
    University of Edinburgh
    November 2001


    Policy innovations under the heading of 'Modernising Government' at the Scottish, UK and EU levels relate primarily to education, public health and social policy issues. There are few cross-references at any of these three levels to other areas of policy innovation which focus on science, technology and innovation strategies, regional development and environmental regulation. Across this divide, 'joining up' of policy is almost non-existent and there is very little recognition of this omission. And yet, in the context of risk at least, this is the area where there is a particularly urgent need of policy integration.

    • ideology vs self interest (from the perspectives of stakeholder, individual and group responses)
    • ideology vs knowledge
    • ideology vs 'what works' (from the governance perspective)
    • post-modern vs science-based approaches
    • pluralism of inputs to decision making (stakeholder involvement) vs top down direction
    • evidence-based approaches vs plural rationalities
    • evidence-based approach vs precautionary principle

    The seminar will discuss these issues in the context of research on chemical and biotechnology risks and regulation over a number of years and outline some of the challenges they raise for modern governance approaches as they relate to science and technology.

  • Regulation: a useful concept
    Dr Julia Black
    October 2001


    Increasingly, regulation is being seen as 'decentred' from the state, and even from the well recognised forums of self-regulation. A decentred analysis has several strands, and seeing the nature and problems of regulation from a decentred perspective can be very stimulating. It opens up the cognitive frame of what 'regulation' is, enabling commentators to spot regulation in previously unsuspected places. It can prompt policy thinkers in academia and government to consider a wide range of different configurations of state, market, community, associations and networks to deliver public policy goals. But a decentred understanding of regulation also raises quite fundamental questions of the nature and understanding of regulation, the consequent role of the state, and our understanding of law. It means we can no longer escape the need to address the question of just what it is that is being 'decentred', of what is it that we want the concept of 'regulation' to do, and what some of the implications of that decision might be. The answers to these questions are at best contested and at worse simply incoherent. It is a debate which is sorely needed, however, and which it is the aim of the paper to promote.

  • Regulating Risk Disclosure in Germany - A leap into the unknown
    Professor Martin Glaum
    Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
    June 2001


    In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several large German firms broke down as a result of severe mismanagement, speculation in the derivatives markets, manipulations of financial accounts and other forms of criminal misbehaviour. These cases led to serious concerns about the adequacy of the governance system of German firms. As a result, in early 1998 the German legislator passed a bill which amended both the Corporate Act (Aktiengesetz) and the Commercial Act (Handelsgesetzbuch, HGB). One of the new rules introduced by the bill expands the disclosure requirements for firms; the annual reports of firms from now on have to provide information about the risks the firms face. The legislation did not, however, provide any details as to how these disclosures would have to be reported. Because of this, the German Accounting Standards Committee (which itself was founded only in 1998 on the basis of the above mentioned amendment of German accounting law) set up a working party in order to prepare a draft standard which would establish a set of rules on the content and structure of German firms' risk disclosure.

    In late 2000, the German Accounting Standards Committee published an exposure standard; the publication of the final standard on risk disclosure is expected by mid 2001. The paper will describe the developments that led to the amendments in German commercial law. It will outline the proposed rules on risk disclosure for German firms, discuss several critical issues (e.g., definition of risk, risk categories, quantification of risks), compare the proposed German rules to accounting and disclosure standards in other countries, and report on the discussion of the draft standard in Germany.

  • Health Care Ethics and Clinical Risk Management: what does regulation have to do with morality?
    Dr Richard Ashcroft
    Imperial College School of Medicine
    June 2001


    Many hospitals and health care organisations in the US, and a growing number in the UK, have developed two kinds of mechanism for managing and averting "trouble" - medical ethics committees, and clinical risk management. Both of these mechanisms involve a growing number of personnel, a coalescing sub profession, and a diversity of institutional forms and roles. Clinical risk management is reasonably well studied by analysts of law, regulation and management. Meanwhile ethics has not been widely studied from these perspectives. In part this is because ethics is seen as a personal matter, relating to individual values, beliefs and behaviour, where risk management is about social structures and processes. Ethics is a province of the intellect, where risk is a matter for organisations. Ethics concerns thought and reflection, where risk is a topic for calculation and trade-off. Brutally put, clinical risk management is thought to be about avoiding losses of cash and goodwill to the organisation, while ethics is about doing the morally right thing.

    In this paper, Dr Ashcroft deconstructs this series of contrasts, through an examination of the history of medical ethics and ethics committees in the institutional setting and by exploring why institutions became interested in medical ethics. He argues that tools of regulatory analysis illuminate much about medical ethics in the healthcare sector today; in particular they provide us with methods for evaluating medical ethics methods and institutions. He described one particular regulatory device, the "research ethics committee", in detail, and set out a programme of work which permits understanding the scope and effect of this device in the healthcare, political and life sciences sectors.

  • From Risk to Indeterminacy: introducing science to culture in modern times
    Professor Brian Wynne
    Lancaster University
    May 2001
  • Addressing Environmental Risk in the Developing World: vulnerability and social activism
    Dr Tim Forsyth
    February 2001


    Debates in environment and development are beginning to highlight an urgent and worrying tension between different approaches to environmental risk management in developing countries. On one hand, the search for effective environmental regulation and management is leading to the implementation of global agreements and codes of practice that seek efficient and fast solutions to growing problems. On the other hand, research into environmental change and local practices of management have indicated that many notions of environmental risk adopted by global agreements are biophysically inaccurate and may even be damaging to local livelihoods if used as the basis for policy. There is a need to integrate these perspectives by seeking both fast and effective environmental policy, as well as a more nuanced and socially flexible basis for understanding the construction of environmental risk in developing countries.

    This seminar will discuss this need in the context of two case studies aiming to illustrate different perspectives of the same problem. First, the approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning vulnerability to climate change will be assessed in relation to alternative approaches coming from development studies and debates in science policy. The aim of this first case study will be to highlight the dangers of approaches to environmental risk that measure (projected) biophysical change alone, and which overlook institutional adaptations to environmental change that relying also on socio-economic factors. The second case study reviews an example from Thailand of local responses to industrial poisoning in electronics factories, and where such historic institutional adaptations at the local level do not exist. The aim of this second case study will be to show how the proposed nature of the risk was subject to a variety of social influences depending on political alliances and the use of scientific knowledge that resulted in a confused approach to the identification of risk. The seminar will conclude by exploring different governance mechanisms that allow both the evolution of biophysical knowledge about the origin of risk, and local participation.

  • Risk Regulation in Contemporary Europe: an American perspective
    Professor David Vogel
    University of California
    January 2001


    Through the mid 1980s, health, safety and environmental regulations tended to be stricter in the United States than in Europe. This is no longer the case: a number of European environmental and consumer safety standards enacted over the last fifteen years are stricter than their American counterparts. In a number of critical respects, contemporary regulatory politics and policies in Europe resemble those of the United States during the 1960s and 70s: they are highly contentious, NGOs enjoy substantial political influence, courts exercise considerable regulatory oversight and policy makers find themselves under considerable political pressure to adopt risk adverse policies, even in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence. The precautionary principle both encourages greater reliance on science, and the making of non-scientific judgements.

    There are a number of explanations for the emergence of a new European regulatory risk regime. These include, the emergence of a European civic culture characterised by a strong interest in regulatory issues, a series of regulatory failures that have undermined public confidence in existing regulatory institutions and the capacity of governments to protect their citizens, and the European Union, which has both heightened public scrutiny of both EU and national regulatory policies and provided more opportunity for political participation by NGOs. Each of these causes has parallels with America of the 1970s.


The Engineer's Dilemma: a sociological perspective on juridification and regulation
Dr Fiona Haines
University of Melbourne
December 2000


Writing on regulation and compliance often assumes a singular goal - conformance of the regulated with particular rules or standards of conduct. Exhortations on designing "good regulation" envisage regulatory frameworks with the most potential to engender compliance. In contrast this paper explores regulation from the perspective of the regulated, in particular middle management, namely a hospital engineer. From the engineer's perspective "compliance" involves not just one goal, but many.

Standards pertaining to health and safety, dangerous goods, fire safety, building standards, infection control, environmental standards as well as those pertaining to anti-competitive conduct form but a few of the diverse regulatory demands such a manager. For this manager, juridification as the proliferation of regulations, standards and codes of practice is an everyday reality. Further, methods of relieving the proliferation of rules for the regulator - namely the shift to performance measures and "general rules" - create a further layer of juridification in the form of and accreditation regimes and auditing schedules. How is this proliferation to be understood and what are possible sources of relief?

For the engineer, trusting his professionalism appears important whilst for the hospital relief from the inexorable demands of budgeting models tied to throughput and other government techniques to increase their "competitiveness" would enable greater levels of support for middle management to achieve their own goals of compliance. Yet, neither is viable - trusting professionalism lacks public credibility and government draws on notions of the market as the source of fulfilling both demands of the "consumer" as well as fiscal responsibility and administrative efficiency.

The paper argues, drawing on the work of Teubner and Habermas, that it is the tension between fiscal and legitimacy demands that drive juridification. Government attempts to resolve this tension most often rely on the "market" as the legitimating source for regulation. Performance standards, cost neutrality, and regulatory efficiency processes (evidenced through regulatory impact statement processes) each exemplify attempts to "simplify" and "improve" regulation by resorting to market models and competition as legitimating themes. Yet legitimacy demands remain strong, such "market" measures thus being supported, in Australia at least, the growing use of individual criminal liability and administrative penalties. For government, regulatory techniques thus form the basis of resolving this tension, yet techniques are not capable of resolving such tensions, particularly when techniques derive legitimacy from their market or administrative integrity. Rather we would argue, with Habermas, that robust debate and development of notions of public good must drive regulation, not a narrowing of focus or a problem orientation that presupposes a technical solution. For this to be successful, however, political leadership is imperative. Political decisions about the "possible" cannot be delegated to the market or administrative systems without creating juridification and with it necessary non-compliance.