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FOR 2757 (2019 - 2023)


Local self-regulation between democracy and hierarchy.

Varieties of structure and values

Mercator Workshop March 18 & 19, 2021

Organization: Prof. Dr. Dieter Neubert, Dr. Christoph Mohamad-Klotzbach

The nucleus of statehood is situated at the local level. The village, the neighborhood, the city district or other communities at the local level may be entities of self-regulation that create a local order. But usually this is not the only level of governance at play. Above it, there is usually the state as a supralocal formation which supplements the local order or competes with it. In fields of society that are not directly controlled by the state or under conditions of weak statehood local orders may develop relatively independent from the state with different structures and values and there might be even competing local orders on the ground.

This workshop, organized by our Mercator-Fellow Dieter Neubert (University of Bayreuth) and the LoSAM Coordinator Christoph Mohamad-Klotzbach (University of Würzburg), is part of the German Research Foundation (DFG) funded Research Unit “Local Self-Governance in the Context of Weak Statehood in Antiquity and the Modern Era (LoSAM)”. Debates on self-regulation refer to the notions of self-organisation and self-governance. Both concepts often imply ideas of an inclusive grass-roots democracy. This may be the case for quite a number of local social orders. However, local self-regulation might also follow different principles marked by hierarchy and/or by exclusion of certain groups. And self-regulation may be challenged by internal frictions and conflicts with competing local orders. Participants will discuss the diversity of the internal structures and of the guiding values of local self-regulation marked by different principles of governance including potential local frictions and conflicts. They may be described via the classical “W” questions. In this case: What is regulated? Who regulates? How are things regulated? Where does regulation happen? Why does it happen? In addition, we may also ask how local groups’ relations with the state and other local orders are organized. Especially important are the “Who” and the “Why” questions that help to compare the different nature of self-organization. “Who” refers to who has access to positions with the power to regulate and who is included or excluded from self-organisation. “Why” points at the intentions behind the regulation and the guiding values of the actors that legitimize the particular self-regulation.

This set of questions shall lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the varieties of self-regulation, its chances and options and the potential limits. The theoretical framework of the research group refers mainly on the debates on self-governance, actor centered institutionalism and self-organisation (see Pfeilschifter et al. 2020).

The Program of this Workshop can be downloaded here(last updated: March 17, 2021).

A compilation of the speakers' abstracts can be downloaded here(last updated: March 5, 2021).