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Abstract

Globalization is often described as a chaotic process which signals the end of national institutions’ ability to regulate markets. However, a closer look reveals a new world of standards and regulations, often with a transnational scope and reach. Contemporary rule making and rule monitoring increasingly take place in the context of transnational arenas that bring around the table many different types of actors, all of whom have or feel to have a “stake” in the regulatory project at hand, yet often for quite diverse reasons and with varying interests. While standardization would seem to suggest regularity, rationalization, and a reduction of diversity if not the advance of homogeneity and convergence, we can easily document a surprising multiplicity and plurality in our transnational world of standards. In most industries, fields and arenas, we find multiple standards and standard setting coalitions. Even so, scholars have only barely started to explore this multiplicity and plurality. Building upon what we know on technical standards, this Symposium describes and explains important patterns in the world of transnational standard-setting, revealing the nature of this plurality and the ways in which it impacts upon and is impacted by different groups of actors involved.

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