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From Polanyi to discourse theory

From Economy to Society? Perspectives on Transnational Risk Regulation

ISBN: 978-1-78190-738-2, eISBN: 978-1-78190-739-9

ISSN: 1059-4337

Publication date: 28 December 2013


Addressing the first of these three key challenges, Section Two of this article therefore argues that a Polanyian vision of “socialized” legal regulation should build on contemporary accounts of responsive law and regulation, which focus attention on social norms informing legal regulation. Section Three of this article tackles the second key challenge raised by Polanyi’s work for contemporary regulation researchers, that is, how to transcend a modernist perspective of “economy” and “society” as clearly demarcated, distinct fields of social action. It argues that discourse theory is an important alternative theoretical resource. Drawing on Laclau and Mouffe, the article suggests that understanding “economy” and “society” as performed by open and relationally constructed discourses helps to capture interconnections between “economy” and “society” that become particularly visible when we analyze how specific regulatory regimes work at a medium- and small-scale level. These points are further brought to life in Section Four through a discussion of the European Union (EU) regulatory regime for trade in risky, transgenic agricultural products, and in particular the current reform debates about the consideration of the “socioeconomic impacts” of such products.



Lange, B. (2013), "From Polanyi to discourse theory", From Economy to Society? Perspectives on Transnational Risk Regulation (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 62), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 73-101.



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