Publication details

"The Metamorphosis of the Functional Synthesis. A Continental European Perspective on Governance, Law and the Political in the Transnational Space", Wisconsin Law Review, Number 2, pp. 489 - 533.


Author(s): Kjaer, Poul
Year of publication: 2010

Abstract: States remain a central form of ordering but only one among several. In the transnational space a wide range of autonomous public and private norm producing organizations and regimes operates which are not or only partly controlled by states. The consequence is that the contemporary world is characterized by a multiplicity of overlapping normative orders. Orders which rely on different organizational principles: Some are territorially bound and some are functionally delineated. Governance structures have emerged as the form through which the multiplicity of orders is linked together. They are inter-contextual forms which simultaneously serve as buffer zones and transmission belts between these orders. As such governance structures can be understood as institutional mechanisms which fulfill the function of ensuring the societal embeddedness of autonomous normative orders in the wider world through increased reflexivity. The type of law which has emerged in order to structure the governance phenomenon reflects the societal function of governance structures. Transnational law is an “in-between worlds” law in the sense that a central aspect of transnational law is the framing of learning processes capable of ensuring mutual adaptability between normative orders. As such transnational law fulfills a different function than nation state law which in essence remains oriented towards the upholding of already established normative expectations. As governance structures are the no man’s land between normative orders they possess an intrinsic political quality. They are the battlefields were the delineation of normative orders are established and continuously reaffirmed. Grasping the kind of political processes unfolding within governance structures is however conditioned by the development of a concept of the political which reflects the inter-contextual function of governance structures.

Keywords: governance, transnational law, globalization, transnationality, normative orders, transnational politics, global ordering

Subject(s): sociology, law, political science

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