Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Basic Approach of the Research Group

The research group will approach its topic in an interdisciplinary framework. The group’s director Dr. M. Mercè Darnaculleta i Gardella has a background in legal studies; she will bring together doctoral students working in various fields, including philosophy, sociology, history, political science, and naturally legal theory itself.

The group will begin with a wide-ranging review of the way the terms “self regulation” and “regulated self-regulation,” along with equivalent concepts, have been used in the scholarly literature; this will serve, in turn, as a foundation for developing a conceptual definition usable in an empirical-research framework. Beyond this, there will be an effort to arrive at a clear distinction between the normative, determinative, and conflict-solving modes of self-regulation.

On the basis of such conceptual considerations, the group will then begin to explore a range of mutually complementary facets characterizing privately originating norms with public significance that can be classified under the concept of normatively regulated self-regulation. This project will have the following goals:

  • the formulation of a typology of the various manifestations of normatively regulated self-regulation;
  • an analysis of the relationship between privately originating norms as a consequence of self-regulation and the legal order both in history and in the present;
  • the study of the philosophical and state-theoretical foundations supporting the development and expansion of normative self-regulation in realms traditionally covered by law.

Both national authorities and supra-national and international organisms are showing a growing interest in the phenomenon of regulated self-regulation, which is increasingly understood as an alternative to state regulation. The success of self-regulation and its effectiveness as a model is dependant on its acceptance, self-control, and transparency. The extensive normative homogenization in European legislation has not, so far, been accompanied by a comparable theoretical harmonization in legal scholarship. A systematic treatment of the range of regulatory instruments that have been developed in various social and economic contexts is thus necessary. In order to develop a concept of regulated self-regulation that may serve as a basis for practical policy, an empirical examination, in the form of case studies, of concrete modes of state participation is necessary. On this basis, it will be possible to describe, in general terms,the spheres in which self-regulation has developed (the content of the norms), what their characteristics are in relation to legitimacy and participation (the origin, process, and target groups of the norms), and the nature of their results. Through a cataloging of the constantly changing forms and activities of self-regulation, both legislators and juridical actors will have access to a set of potentially useful tools.

Furthermore, the phenomenon of regulated self-regulation is open to study from historical and sociological perspectives, as well as from the perspective of political science, especially with a focus on governance and institutions. In this context, it would be important to consider the norm-setting process in light of the cooperation, coordination, and establishment of networks between state and non-state actors. With a review of the advantages and disadvantages of this new form of governance still outstanding, there is a need for concrete case studies of it, in both a diachronic and synchronic framework. Such studies will, it is hoped, supply the foundations for a typology, aimed at by the research-group, of the most important forms of regulated self-regulation. From the viewpoint of philosophy (in particular political philosophy), self-regulation poses the question of the legitimation and cohesiveness of norm-setting, and that of the area circumscribing the validity of norms.

Without staking a claim to exhaustiveness, a number of realms can be mentioned in which the various forms of regulated self-regulation are manifest:

  • the new technologies;
  • advertising and media;
  • the quality and safety of industrial and pharmaceutical products and of produce;
  • work safety and the environment;
  • career and company ethics;
  • relationships between companies;
  • and finally the international financial markets.

Further specification of relevant research-areas will emerge in connection with the personal interests and individual profiles of those engaged in this project.