Transparency and business in international law: Governance between norm and technique

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3 Scopus citations


Introduction In the second decade of the twenty-first century, academics have come to recognize the diffusion of power away from the State and the rise of governance centres elsewhere, especially in the international sphere. But the techniques of that power and the methodologies of that diffusion remain mysterious. In the 1970s, Michel Foucault predicted this fundamental change in the character of the State and its function, from a ‘state of justice’ grounded in territoriality and law to a ‘state of government’ no longer defined by territory but by the ‘mass of the population’. The improvement of the condition of this ‘mass’ serves both as the final ends of government and as the instrument of that object. Those ends and means have produced a governmentalization of institutions around which populations are organized – States, international organizations, corporations, non-governmental actors and religious communities – understood as ‘the ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses and reflections, calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific power’. But the mass of the population is itself incarnated from the procedures, analyses and reflections, calculations and tactics that define governmentalization. Foucault identifies the instrument of this incarnation as ‘statistics’, which ‘enables the specific phenomena of the population to be quantified’. These ‘statistics’ enmesh both the generation of data and its availability to participants in governance. The triangular relationship between governmentalization (of both public and private institutional actors with managerial power), the mass of the population (which is its object and now its foundation), and the ‘statistics’ (that both define and serve to manage the mass of the population) is the essence of the problem of transparency in the twenty-first century and the subject of this chapter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransparency in International Law
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781139108843
ISBN (Print)9781107021389
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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