The Intellectual and Institutional Worlds of Independence in Contemporary Democracies

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).

This course takes places 1-2 September 2022. Please register below by 12.00 CEST on 4 August 2022.

(in addition to the bibliography of the paper presenters) :

George Tridimas, Comparison of Central Bank and Judicial Independence, in Constitutional Mythologies. New Perspectives on Controlling the State (Alain Marciano, ed, Springer, 2011, at 155–170)

Stephanie Mudge, Antoine Vauchez, ‘Dependence on Independence: Legal Expertise, the European Central Bank and the (Re-)Making of the European Economy’, Economy and Society, 2022, forthcoming.

Antoine Vauchez, ‘The genie of independence and the European bottle: How independence became Europe’ Most Contentious Legal and Political Category’, International Journal of Constitutional Law, 1, 2022

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The Intellectual and Institutional Worlds of Independence in Contemporary Democracies

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