Workshop 1 - Friday, October 31, 2008 (Namur, Belgium)
Theoretical approach to the problems and limits of governance defined in terms of ethical normativity and elaboration of a common good

Led by Philippe Goujon (University of Namur) and Sylvain Lavelle (CETS, ICAM, Lille)
in Faculty of Computer Sciences - University of Namur, Belgium

The inclusion of social reflexivity in the relation between the justification and the application of norms makes it possible to give its full place to ethical normativity, which is often marginalised by technical normativity, whether instrumental or procedural. The aim of alternative governance integrating the relationship between justification and context is that of building a common good. It requires going beyond the implicit postulate of the absence of contradiction between maximising individual happiness and public common interest. It suggests "reflecting on the possible objectivation of the conditions necessary to satisfy the requirements of such a public interest" (Mayntz) to highlight the democratic, deliberative and practical dimensions of an ethical form of Internet governance.

09:00 Registration
09:30 Introduction

Richard Delmas (Principal Administrator - EC)
Genealogy of governance and its tensions
Ahstracts : The ethics of what is commonly named the "internet" could now be considered from a certain perspective, looking back at its deployment by public entities, academia and industry during the past 20 years. Thus, the analysis of the pattern of "governmentality" of the device at international level (ref Foucault) could present the so called object "internet" as a specific set of tools for acquiring additional power and to access strategic resources, even public taxation, out of any substantive legality and control in international law. Therefore, the issue of the relevance of ethics based on social and democratic norms are clearly raised. This would require a preliminary identification of a few basic principles to be applied, a corpus of law for the digital world, similar to the law for postal exchanges, maritime legal resources and outer space. Ultimately, the conditions for establishing an instrument for peace and union (ref. Kelsen) and subsequently for a "social contract" (ref. Rousseau) at international level have to be raised.


Philippe Goujon (University of Namur, BE)
History and democratic issues of a new governance
Abstract : This conference will present in an historical and critical analysis the emergence and development of new transnational governance approaches. A first part titled a world in transformation presents the context of the emergence of a new governance. In a second step titled governance a new word we will specify the governance concept. Then in a part titled the History of mutilateralism of solidarity we will analyses the path to a multilateralism conception, through an involvement of civil society organizations and a regulated interaction with the private sector. The fourth part titled the democratic issues of a new governance addresses the problem of a democratic governance beyond the nation-state and its deliberative condition and in particular the accountability and legitimicy issues. In a final step titled International governance multistakeholder approaches and their difficulties we will address the major obstacles and challenged faced by institutional solutions actually in fashion to increase the deliberative quality of decision-making.




Sabine Weiland (Hambourg University - Germany)
Literature review on protocols for evaluating reflexive governance in the public interest
Abstract : Reflexivity implies awareness of the structural conditions of learning as well as of the interaction of structures and the processes to change them. In order to study reflexive governance and its contribution to the provision of common goods, it is therefore necessary to link structural analysis with investigating how institutional rules influence the normative and cognitive orientations of actors.
The aim of the report is twofold: first to elaborate this concept of reflexive governance and, second, to adapt this as a theoretical framework for the analysis of current developments in forest policy and management. In other words: the goal is to develop a concept that allows for the systematic scrutiny of political processes in forestry and the factors that enable or obstruct more reflexive forms of governance in this realm.
Based on the distinction between reflectiveness and reflexivity we introduce a protocol for systematically analyzing the relation between social setting, the cognitive representation and the learning outcomes. This leads us to distinguish four governance situations for evaluating the performance of the multi-criteria evaluation tools in sustainable forestry :
I. an unreflexive governance system with unreflected object representation
II. an unreflexive governance system with reflected object representation
III. a reflexive governance system with unreflected object representation
IV. a reflexive governance system with reflected object representation
Governance situation IV describes the case of a reflexive governance system that delivers reflected policy outcomes, meaning: that is capable of collective learning. This of course is the situation that is most interesting in our context. In the final section the conditions that enable such favorable connection are examined, based on the research done within the Refgov network.




Sylvain Lavelle (Ethical, Technical & Society Centre, Group ICAM, Polytechnicum of Lille, FR)
Norms and Contexts, Cultural Frames
Abstract : It seems that the current reflection on norms both in ethics and in technology is to address the issue of their relationship to the context. Contextualism in philosophy can be viewed as a response to the problem of the relevance of rules, which classical and contemporary universalism has been unable to overcome (see Preyer and Peter, Contextualism in Philosophy). In the field of ethics, the critique of universalism embodied by Habermas has led to a contextual pragmatics as developed by Maesschalk (Norms and Context). This critique suggests a new perspective on the relationship between the justification and the application of norms, in emphasizing the process of transformation of cultural frames (or background). In the field of technology, the critique of universalism was led through a (post) phenomenological approach by Ihde (Technology and the Lifeworld). This critique emphasizes the role of cultural frames in the use of technical artefacts, but does not insist much on the integration of contexts in the phases of design and production, as suggested by CSD (Context-Sensitive Design). The perspectives on ethical normativity keeps away from that on technical normativity, yet illuminating for a contextual philosophy of norms, and especially for a contextual ethics of technology. It is worth examining the interface between ethical and technical normativity if ones want to understand how technical devices can shape the cultural frames on the basis of which ethical norms are elaborated. This issue is of much importance for a democratic governance of technology which calls for a new form of techno-ethical inter-culture.


Daniela Obradovic  (University of Amsterdam – newgov project, NL)
Globalization transforming democracy: Participation of civil society in new modes of governance at the international level
Abstract : The paper assesses normative rules introduced by international and European Union (EU) law concerning the participation on civil society groups in new internet-based modes of governance. It examines the requirements imposed by international and EU law on civil groups intending to participate in those modes of governance such as representativeness, disclosure of objectives and financial interests and additional transparency criteria. It explores whether their implementation is feasible taking into consideration their vagueness and imprecision. The aim of the paper is to investigate whether those normative mechanisms set up by international and EU law can serve their intended purpose: the democratisation and legitimatizing of new internet-based modes of governance at the international level. Specifically, it deals with the question whether the proliferation of normative standards regulating the participation of civil society in such forms of governance at the international level can endow those structures with higher levels of public trust and credibility.




Matthias Kettner (Witten/Herdecke University, DE)
Governance ethics and new technologies
Abstract : “Governance” is an elusive term that stands in need of theoretical clarification. Drawing on classical and recent resources of philosophical pragmatism (John Dewey, Frederick L. Will), I will introduce and clarify a general concept of governance as governance of norms and of normative textures (GNT). Current notions of democratic governance, and in particular deliberative democratic governance, can be reconstrued as particular specifications of GNT oriented to democratic legitimacy, i.e. a complex mode of validity. In a (deliberative) democracy, other modes of validity, e.g. moral and juridical legitimacy, have to be integrated into democratic legitimacy in complex ways. - When new technologies emerge, they pose all kinds of challenges for established normative textures, in the lifeworld as well as in functionally specialized social systems, and in all modes of validity. (The question will have to be discussed, whether it is theoretically enlightening to posit a specific mode of validity, “technical normativity”, that is tailored to those strange transitions of facticity into normativity that seem to go hand in hand with the diffusion of technological artefacts.) A typical political response of western democracies to the challenges of technological change has been, over the last twenty years, the establishment of technology assessement (TA). Common to all forms of TA is an attempt to bring new technologies into the scope of (deliberative) democratic governance. The key question is: How can we know when such attempts are successful or fail, and to what extent? In particular one form of Participatory Technology Assessement, the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Program (ELSI) in connection with the Human Genome Project, has raised great hopes and has received much political attention. However, doubts can be raised as to whether the ELSI format for governing new technologies can solve the crisis of expert knowledge that is pertinent in participatory TA, and whether the ELSI format can solve the dilemma between participation (more public stakeholders) and rationality (more rational discourse). An alternative view to the claim that the emergence of new technologies can be deliberatively democratically governed is, of course, the thesis that the emergence of new technologies is driven by forces of the economic system and controlled by economic modes of governance.


Tom de Deurwardere (CPDR, UCL – Refgov project, BE)
New models of Governance, stakeholders and the common good
Abstract : The question of democratic legitimacy in global orders poses new challenges for the theory and practice of governance. New challenges that need to be addressed are the construction of common background beliefs in situations of heterogeneous collective preference on the global scale or in situations where collective preference for abstract and complex goods such as the common gene pool or resources for future generations still have to be build. Another problem is the presence of complex interdependencies on the global scale leading to controversies over the representation of the issues at stake.
In this chapter, we argue for broadening the theory of governance by taking into account the need for reflexive learning processes that play a role in the building of democratic legitimacy in global orders. We will introduce the concept of reflexive governance initially from within the context of environmental issues, where it has been developed in the context of the analysis of ecological risks. However, even if we will rely on this example, we will adopt a broader definition of reflexive governance as a process involving the revision of constitutional orders and show its relevance for the governance of digital content on the Internet.