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Governance and regulation

Governance and regulation have become cross-cutting themes in the social sciences. Classical definitions of governance prioritize the role of the state, its institutions of authority and its use of legal rules. Contemporary scholarship on governance now reveals a world in which both states and non-state actors create networks of governance to address problems of market failure, distributive justice and global public goods. The governance capacity of states and non-state actors in a global world is shaped by their capacities to create and participate in networked governance. Regulation has become more broadly theorized through the development of new theories of regulation such as responsive regulation or smart regulation, as well as new concepts to capture the changing dynamics of regulation (for example, meta-regulation, co-regulation, transnational regulation). Governance and regulation are being brought closer together through shared labels such as polycentric, networked, multilevel, transnational, global, nodal, decentred, new, plural or collaborative. The state and law remain important but often distant in particular domains and networks. One important focus within the Department of Law is on the links between general theories of governance/regulation and European law. The European Union’s arrangements of shared or collaborative sovereignty remain a rich empirical source of regulatory models and experimentation. Other themes of research include a focus on the normative attributes of governance such as transparency, legitimacy, accountability and authority; fundamental rights approaches to governance; governance and the provision of regional and public goods; the role of private law in improving broader systems of governance; and the development of better theories of governance and regulation.

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