Collaboration: Rethinking how we think about the politics of regulation

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Annelise Riles & Charlotte Davis, (2012), Collaboration: Rethinking how we think about the politics of regulation, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 3 2012, Rethinking Financial Markets, 1st November to 31st December, 2012

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Local political pressures seem to frame and steer conversations about difficult financial regulatory questions of global impact. Translating from one language to another or from one specialty to another falls short of working together and may even block finding creative ways of describing critical questions. The online conference model is one attempt to address these methodological concerns, and this paper presents a variation of this model, Meridian 180, which is an experiment of transpacific collaboration headquartered at Cornell Law School.

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  • Aaron Pitluck says:

    Professors Riles & Davis,

    Thank you for sharing your ongoing experience with Meridian 180—it sounds like a fascinating experiment in creating a transpacific community, and certainly a potential model for discussing global regulatory reform. If other readers are aware of additional transnational communication projects—regardless of whether it is related to economic reform—it would be helpful and interesting if they could append a comment or two to this paper.

    In your paper you discuss the challenge of how specialists from diverse fields of expertise can coherently discuss the same topics from their distinct fields of expertise. This is a certainly a central problem for conferences such as this one, in which we are currently engaged. How can we draw on our expertise to discuss complex moral and regulatory issues in order to arrive at something stronger than merely my critique of your work or your critique of mine?

    This is a subject that I am personally researching. I am investigating how investment bankers and Islamic scholars are able to draw on their respective fields of expertise to discuss with one another a critique of contemporary finance, as well as how they draw on their knowledge to co-produce new financial instruments that they believe are more moral (Islamic finance). I am currently conducting interviews and continue to actively transcribe and analyze previous interviews, so I am reluctant to share my preliminary, contingent ideas here. However, in my own conference paper for this conference, I do address the issue of how practitioners are able (or unable) to wrestle with critiques of their profession in order to create regulatory reform. I welcome you (and readers of your paper) to take a brief look at my conference paper to see if you find something of value for your own research.

    In your own paper, you rhetorically ask, “How do we avoid writing past each other?” Indeed this is challenging. One obvious strategy is to virtually replicate the experience of a physical conference, where presenters are present for one another’s presentations. If each presenter reads—and responds to—a few papers in their fields of expertise, we can at least begin the process of not writing past one another. This comment’s attempt at community-building should be viewed, in part, as a response to your challenging question of how we can avoid writing past one another.