Alejandro Esguerra

Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Research Project at the Centre

The Micro-Politics of Negotiating and Manufacturing Governance Innovation in the Transnational Realm

The research project examines how actors with diverse backgrounds negotiate and manufacture novel inter- and transnational governance arrangements in sustainability politics, and thereby engage in global cooperation. In contrast to many functionalist approaches in political science, the research project conceptualizes novel governance arrangements as the outcome of contextualized negotiations. These arrangements are negotiated and manufactured in communicative interactions that are conceptualized as both performative and embedded in institutional and discursive structures.

Empirically, the project focuses on two cases. (1) The negotiations toward a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): In the early 1990s transnational actors founded the first private transnational certification organization in the realm of sustainable forestry with a heterogeneous, antagonistic stakeholder body. Founding members had to build the organization from scratch, and in doing so, innovated and created transnational private governance as governance without the state. (2) Innovation in Science-Policy Organizations - the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This organization brings together science, policy, and stakeholders to bundle and coordinate state of the art knowledge on biodiversity. After a seven year long negotiation process the IPBES was established in 2012. Design and tasks of the IPBES innovate the ways in which expert bodies operate and thus, reconfigure the classic relationship between experts, policymakers and citizens.

The project adopts an interpretive approach to the study of micro-politics of negotiation processes. More specifically, it draws on an emerging approach of communicative constructivism in sociology of knowledge (Knoblauch 2013), as well as on work in Science and Technology Studies (STS) on experiments and laboratory work (Callon 2009; Rheinberger 1997), on expert organizations (Jasanoff 2012; Lidskog & Sundqvist 2011), and on participatory instruments (Lezaun & Soneryd 2007; Wynne 2007). One of the aims of this interdisciplinary research project is to communicate these approaches back into the discipline of International Relations (IR)


April 2015 – March 2016