Reinventing Public/Private Governance

Friday, June 24, 2016: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
119 Moses (Moses Hall)
Elisabeth Clemens, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Diverse forms of public-private collaboration have been central to the distinctive trajectory of state-building in American political history.  Private citizens have been invested with public authority, major policy initiatives have been delegated to voluntary associations, and firms have provided much of the infrastructure mobilized to meet the demands of war, crisis, and national initiatives.  But while the distributed and delegated character of American governance endures, the specific arrangements that are championed or criticized have shifted in and out of focus.  Beyond the oscillating electoral fortunes of those in favor of government expansion and those committed to anti-statist principles, there have been substantial efforts to reimagine architectures of public and private, for-profit and non-profit in the organization of the production of public goods and the promotion of social ends.  Beginning with the calls for greater participatory governance in the 1960s and for deregulation in the 1970s, this paper provides a genealogical framework for understanding the appearance of non-statist, non-libertarian, but not-quite-communitarian visions of private governance for public purposes, supported by new technologies of collaboration.