Book Talk | Rules without Rights: Explaining the Failures of Transnational Governance

25 November 2020, 17.00h

In this Book Talk organised by the ZU Research Cluster "Global Networks", Tim Bartley will present and discuss his latest book: Rules without rights. Land, labor, and private authority in the global economy.

The Book Talk will take place online via Big Blue Button (link below).
Please register with Max Lesch (mxlschzd) to receive a sample chapter of the book.

Activists have exposed startling forms of labor exploitation and environmental degradation in global industries, leading many large retailers and brands to adopt standards for fairness and sustainability. This book is about the idea that transnational corporations can push these standards through their global supply chains, and in effect, pull factories, forests, and farms out of their local contexts and up to global best practices. For many scholars and practitioners, this kind of private regulation and global standard-setting can provide an alternative to regulation by territorially-bound, gridlocked, or incapacitated nation states, potentially improving environments and working conditions around the world and protecting the rights of exploited workers, impoverished farmers, and marginalized communities. But can private, voluntary standards actually create meaningful forms of regulation? Are forests and factories around the world actually being made into sustainable ecosystems and decent workplaces? Can global norms remake local orders?

Tim Bartley is a Professor of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis (and recently a visiting fellow at the Cluster on the Politics of Inequality at the University of Konstanz). Most of his research focuses on labor and environmental standards in the global economy, including standards pertaining to environmental justice for communities and Indigenous peoples in forested areas around the world. His 2018 book, Rules without Rights: Land, Labor, and Private Authority in the Global Economy (Oxford University Press) examined the implementation of fair labor and sustainable forestry standards in Indonesia and China. The book received the 2019 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award from the Environmental Studies section of the International Studies Association and an honorable mention from the Global and Transnational Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. He has published articles on social movements, regulation, and global governance in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, the Socio-Economic Review, and other journals. He has taught an array of courses on globalization, research methods, the sociology of organizations, sociological theory, environmental sociology, and environmental justice.

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