A Comparative and Historical Inquiry into Courts, Central Banks, Regulators
The past three decades have seen the parallel ‘re-discover’ and ‘re-working’ of the notion of independence in a variety of policy domains, academic disciplines and institutional contexts ranging from the ever-expanding field of regulatory agencies to the rise of constitutional and European courts and the increasing saliency of central banking. Yet, this proliferation and expansion of the concept in our political vocabulary has not been met with its clarification. The workshop will aim at making sense of the variety of intellectual genealogies, legal meanings (scope, functions, counter-balances principles) and institutional forms of ‘independence’ in contemporary law, economics, and politics. It will address the following questions: Can we compare theories of independence across policy fields (finance, rule of law, regulation, etc.) and institutions (courts, central banks, etc.)? Are there forms of interdependence between the independent institutions? Ultimately, the workshop will question the notion’s central paradox as both a foundational notion of contemporary democratic regimes (through the role that courts or regulators play in securing equal rights and access to the public sphere) and a limitation thereto (through the diffusion of an episteme of expertise at the core of democratic politics).