OxBHR Network Series: Discussion with Dr. Janne Mende on 'Business Authority in Human Rights: Transcending the Public-Private Divide'
Dr. Janne Mende, Senior Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg
Notes & Changes
This event will be hybrid, with online attendance via Zoom. The event will also be held in-person in the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.
Business Authority in Human Rights: Transcending the Public-Private Divide
The OxBHR Network Series is pleased to welcome Dr. Janne Mende, Senior Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, to present her paper, 'Business Authority in Human Rights: Transcending the Public-Private Divide'.
Private actors such as businesses increasingly assume governance power and legitimacy, with far-reaching effects on public interests, including human rights. They thus gain private authority, as opposed to the public authority of states. However, the public–private distinction does not sufficiently capture the variety of governance actors, or the forms of their power and legitimacy. Rather, businesses (and other governance actors) assume public and private roles, as well as a third kind of roles transcending notions of public and private. To understand these roles and how they shape authority in global governance, this talk extends the public–private relationship with a third – the ‘societal’ category. It then applies this category to governance authority. Conceptualising governance authority as composed of power, legitimacy and a connection to public interests, this talk shows how business roles escape the binary distinction between public and private without simply merging the two. On this basis, this talk suggests the concept of business authority, which constitutes a particular form of authority alongside public and private authority in global governance.
The presentation will be based on this paper: https://doi.org/10.1177/17550882221116924.
Janne Mende is Senior Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, where she analyses the authority and legitimacy of public and private governance actors in the United Nations and the European Union. In addition, she heads a research project dedicated to business and human rights, studying the due diligence norm and the UN Treaty Process. She has held visiting positions at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva, the WZB – Berlin Social Science Center Research Unit Global Governance, the New School for Social Research in New York, the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the School of Global Studies in Gothenburg, among others.