The Politics of Experimental Governance, emissions trading between lab and field

Date: 11 May, 12.30-13.45
Venue: Ravelijn, RA 1247
Speakers: Dr. Jan-Peter Voss, TU Berlin,


What do experiments do for governance? The paper proposes a conceptual framework to study innovation in governance as a co‐production of science and politics. Studying a series of formative experiments with ‘emissions trading’ as new form of environmental governance in the US, between 1968 and 2000, the paper highlights a reciprocal relation of confined scientific experiments in the lab with embedded political experiments in the field. In the interplay of lab and field experiments epistemic and political authority in support of emissions trading as a model of governance are ‘ratcheting up’. A new form of collective order is realized, discursively and materially. The conclusion is that experiments make reality and that portraying them in epistemological terms is a politicalmove in itself: it closes the trialling of collective orders off against wider public involvement. This leads into questions about appropriate ways of governing governance experiments.