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Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Herman Lelieveldt – “Chaperoning private politics: how states affect NGO-corporate interactions”

On November 30th 2016, Herman Lelieveldt (University College Roosevelt) will present a paper entitled “Chaperoning private politics: how states affect NGO-corporate interactions”

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Studies that seek to explain how NGOs and corporations interact in processes leading to private certification, tend to assume that the arena of private politics is devoid of state intervention. I argue that these analyses overlook the crucial and often contradictory role states play in these processes.

These roles – which I characterize as chaperoning – are a direct result of the repositioning of state responsibilities in neo-liberal food regimes. Democratically elected governments now fiercely advocate collaboration between corporations as a way to make the food system more sustainable because free trade rules have reduced their capacity to adopt formal legislation. At the same time however state competition agencies will easily disqualify these as instances of cartel formation if such collaboration leads companies to make agreements to limit market offerings.

I illustrate these phenomena through a case study of attempts to raise animal welfare standards of poultry sold in Dutch supermarkets. When supermarkets eventually responded to NGO pressure by jointly agreeing on a common standard, the Dutch competition agency dismissed this as a case of cartel formation. This forced retailers to each individually decide on higher animal welfare standard and resulted in a highly scattered market offering with only limited welfare improvements.

Hence the analysis shows how neo-liberal predicaments of ensuring free competition poses inherent limits to the emergence of a new corporate-environmental food regime.

News

14/09/2018

Andrea Pirro appointed as new editor of East European Politics

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Andrea Pirro has been recently appointed as new editor of the journal East European Politics published by Taylor and Francis.

31/08/2018

Volkswagen foundation Grant 2018 for Manuela Caiani

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Manuela Caiani has been awarded the Volkswagen Grant 2018 for the research project Popular Music as a Medium for the Mainstreaming of Populist Ideologies in Europe, that will be directed by Mario Dunkel (University Carl von Ossietzky of Oldenburg, Germany).

30/07/2018

ERC Starting Grant 2018 for Alice Mattoni

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Alice Mattoni, Research Fellow at COSMOS and Assistant Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore, has been awarded the ERC Starting Grant 2018 for the research project BIT-ACT: Bottom-up initiative and anti-corruption technologies: how citizens use ICTs to fight corruption.

Publications

Journal Article - 2018

New Technologies as a Neglected Social Movement Outcome: The Case of Activism against Animal Experimentation

Manès Weisskircher
Based on novel empirical research, this paper analyzes a crucial and understudied case of a movement pushing for new technologies: the animal rights movement and its efforts to push for alternatives to animal experimentation.

Journal Article - 2018

Mobilizing in transnational contentious spaces: linking relations, emotions and space in migrant activism

Elias Steinhilper
The article illustrates how the transnational spaces most migrants inhabit can be politicized and transformed into particular social formations, for which the term ‘transnational contentious spaces’ is suggested.