Post-Political Regulation: Soft Power and Post-Political Visions in Global Governance

Christina Garsten, Kerstin Jacobsson

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The debate on global governance points to shifts in the type and nature of regulation as well as in the set of actors involved. The article introduces a novel way of conceptualizing the changes, namely a move towards post-political forms of regulation (see also Garsten and Jacobsson, 2007). Drawing on Chantal Mouffe’s notion of ‘the post-political vision’, the article argues that many contemporary forms of regulation are premised on consensual relationships as the basis for regulatory activity. These regulatory practices tend to narrow down the conflictual space, thereby exerting a form of soft power. Moreover, in the post-political forms of regulation, unequal power relations tend to be rendered invisible. The empirical cases discussed are voluntary regulatory arrangements, more specifically the Open Method of Coordination of the EU (OMC) and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Sociology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)421-437
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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