Xavier Rambla Sociologia

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maig 30 2019

Global governance, institutional design and struggle

Current debates on global governance often revisit an old debate in the social sciences. While some theories argue that good or bad ideas on how to design institutions are the ultimate cause of political developments, other theories insist that this ultimate cause lies in struggle and negotiation. Rational-choice and historical institutionalism represent the two perspectives in political science.

The same type of discrepancy divides experts on global governance nowadays. For instance, Jeffrey Sachs considers that coherent arguments on the potential of the SDGs are capable to make a difference by persuading the elites. In contrast, Aart Scholte highlights a complex array of social relations that condition global governance.

In 2018-2019, the students of Social Change and Globalisation evaluated the insights of these diverging theories. Their work focused on such issues of the global policy agendas as nutrition and education. On the one hand, Nestlé claims that it is producing shared value, while FAO works for achieving the SDGs that concern agriculture and food. On the other hand, GEMS Education claims that its activity fosters access to education, while the Global Campaign of Education warns that private education threatens the right to education.

Global nutrition and education policies entail a number of implications for the social sciences, political philosophy and practical decision-making. This exercise focused on one of these implications. An influential standpoint suggests the following research question: Are the current problems in these areas the consequence of good or bad previous institutional designs? However, another widespread perspective suggests a different research question: Are these problems the outcome of old struggles and negotiations?

Certainly, qualified and sound analyses must draw on the whole array of expert opinions in order to achieve consistent conclusions. However, halfway positions are not convincing simply because their premises are intermediate. Although all  experts assume that both institutional designs and struggles play a role, the order of factors eventually alters the product. If designs set the the pattern, struggles only take place on the flaws of the initial designs. If struggles set the pattern, designs reflect an equilibrium of power. The floor is yours.


This entry was posted on Dijous, 30 maig, 2019 at 13:29 and is filed under L'aprenentatge a l'educació superior. You can follow any responses to this entry through the feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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