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Organizing for social sustainability: Governance through bureaucratization in meta-organizations
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1816-3572
2012 (English)In: Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, E-ISSN 1548-7733, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 50-58Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The difficulties nation states face when attempting to use traditional legal means to cope with transnational phenom-ena such as environmental degradation, international labor conditions, and global trade have created an opportunity for the emergence of new types of regulations. These rules are often issued by organizations that produce voluntary measures such as standards and action plans to influence the behavior of individuals and institutions. These are in many cases meta-organizations that have other organizations rather than individuals as members. They are important links in the process of creating and diffusing dominant definitions in the “ideoscape” of influential policy concepts such as sustainable development. This article explores how two meta-organizations, Fairtrade International (FLO) and Organic Forum, shape the concepts of fair trade and organic food by providing ideas and content to the ideoscape of sustainable development. We argue that this process takes place by governance through bureaucratization in which fair trade and organic food become formalized, precisely defined, and made visible. This in turn determines how—or even if—the social dimension of sustainability can be made into policy. Furthermore, we find explanations in these processes as to why the social dimension of sustainability tends to be the most underdeveloped. We conclude that bureaucratization is also a form of politics, although not one that is as easily recognizable as an open power struggle. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 8, no 1, p. 50-58
Keywords [en]
sustainable development, globalization, standardization, organizations, food industry, bureaucracy, social conditions
National Category
Social Anthropology Political Science Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74314DOI: 10.1080/15487733.2012.11908084OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-74314DiVA, id: diva2:507816
Funder
Swedish Research Council FormasAvailable from: 2012-03-06 Created: 2012-03-06 Last updated: 2022-02-24Bibliographically approved

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Casula Vifell, ÅsaThedvall, Renita

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Department of Political ScienceDepartment of Social AnthropologyStockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE)
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Social AnthropologyPolitical SciencePublic Administration Studies

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