Sociology Department Colloquium: Christopher Rea

Tue November 28th 2017, 12:30 - 1:50pm
Mitchell Earth Sciences Building, B67

Please join us for a colloquium being given by Christopher Rea from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Nature of Regulation: Markets, Politics, and Remaking Environmental Protection in the United States and Germany

Since the 1980s, regulation and governance in many policy domains has taken a well-documented turn towards using market-oriented mechanisms as regulatory tools. Perhaps nowhere is this trend more apparent than in the context of environmental policy, where markets in nature, loosely defined, are increasingly used as a means of protecting nature from markets. Using theoretical tools drawn from political, economic, and organizational sociology, as well as historical institutionalism and comparative political economy in political science, and through an empirical comparison of the historically parallel emergence of habitat-based ecological offsetting schemes in the United States and Germany, I develop an approach for explaining how and why these kinds of market-oriented regulatory transformations occur when and where they do. Specifically, I: 1) offer a novel approach for mapping evolutionary changes in regulatory regimes, e.g. from non-market to market-oriented forms; 2) identify the broad-based historical and more particular contentious political dynamics that drove and constrained these change processes (in contradistinction to functionalist efficiency- and accumulation-based arguments); and 3) draw out insights from the case-specific context of my study to make inferences about how regulatory marketization and organizational change processes work much more broadly. I conclude with a discussion of implications for further research and a brief survey of my continuing work on environmental regulation in particular, transformations in regulation and governance more generally, and implications for environmental politics and protection most concretely—and at a time when such protections may be more critical, and perhaps less secure, than at any time in recent memory.