Author Meets Critics: "Professional Networks in Transnational Governance"

Book Authors:
Leonard Seabrooke , Lasse Folke Henriksen , Brooke Harrington and Duncan Wigan
Simone Polillo and Alexander Kentikelenis
Simone Polillo
Saturday, June 25, 2016: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
234 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Transnational governance is a process of coordination and competition among professionals and organizations in relation to particular issues. This book is concerned with professional networks in transnational governance; particularly how professionals navigate their peer and organizational networks to control transnational issues. Recent scholarship has focused on how transnational issues are governed, concentrating on how organizational actors arrive at governance outcomes. Standards, benchmarks, and procedures commonly attract the most attention, with explanations on what actors were able to achieve what outcomes and why. A key claim in this book is that competition and cooperation in professional networks for issue control is more important than what organization has a formal mandate over an issue. While organizational forms are important, professionals often form networks to circumvent and manipulate them in their battles for issue control in transnational governance. This book provides an alternative account of how issues are controlled in transnational governance. We stress how the causal chain can often be identified as professional strategy > organizational opportunities > issue control. This is not to dismiss the importance of authority claims but to assert that they are not the only channels of power within systems of transnational governance. This book is concerned with how professionals and organizations navigate networks in attempts at issue control in transnational governance. Here the transnationality of issues matters. At the transnational level of activity, professionals and organizations exhibit high levels of distributed agency in their activities, with both incremental and strategic activities taking place from a range of actors working on an issue. Transnationality permits greater diversity in who seeks to control issues, as well as often fracturing control through multiple levels of formal and informal governance. We highlight how what we call "issue professionals" network and engage with organizations, as well as how, in some cases, organizations and organizational networks enable issue professionals. To create a shorthand, issue professionals are the actors in this book, issue control is what they want, and a two-level professional-organizational network is their context of action. 

The chapters in this book explore these themes, providing a range of cases, including Len Seabrooke, Lasse Foike Henriksen, Yves Dezalay and Mikael Madsen, Brooke Harrington, Ole Jacob Sending, Wendy Wong, Ron Levi, and Julia Deutsch, Jason Thistlethwaite, Adam Baden and Duncan Wigan, Matthew Eagleton-Pierce, Andrew Baker, Adriana Nilsson, Matthew Paterson, Matthew Hoffman, Michele Bestill and Steven Bernstein, Arthur Mühlen-Schulte and John Karlsrud, James Faulconbridge and Daniel Muzio, Mehdi Boussebaa, Bessma Momani, and James Perry and David Kempel.

This author meets critics session will feature the editors of the book, Seabrooke and Henriksen, chapter contributors, and expert discussants.