Unternehmen und Gesellschaft



Working titel: The political legitimacy of business actors in postnational governance

Short Description: Additional to a critical discussion about structural interdependencies between politics and economic processes we seem to observe a significant qualitative change in the task sharing between state and non state actors, most prominently business actors and NGOs, compared to the nation state paradigm.Through the activities of self-regulation, quasi regulation, public private partnerships and the privatization trend business actors transgress their „classical“ role of producing and distributing goods and services (in a narrow sense) ascribed to them in classical management and order theoretical liberal approaches. At the same time national governments cannot fulfill their classical role of providing for public goods in a classical sense. The borders between business and governments are blurred, business actors seem to have become political actors in some sense. However our evaluation patterns of what comprises a political activity are strongly influenced by the nation state paradigm. Against the background of blurred distinctions we do not know yet how to evaluate business actors' 'new' activities normatively.My evaluation of the latest approaches to corporate legitimacy and business actors as political ones critically discusses the transferability or applicability of the different normative approaches to a postnational constellation and how they could/ would or do deal with the new business actors' activities of self-regulation, quasi-regulation, public private partnerships and privatization. I suggest an alternative understanding of corporate legitimacy drawing on postfoundational approaches in radical democracy.

Duration: 2005 - 2010

Project Leader: Sabine Mirković