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Journal Article

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Purpose – What seems like a new social anthropology of global regulation is an endeavour much too grand for this paper, even though it has much merit. To contain the analysis which follows, the discussion of social embeddedness will be restricted to a comparison of markets which retain some local or regional integrity from those which have become largely removed from cultural or communal social bonds. An example is between markets trading in goods and services with a consumer base which is local and subsistence, and markets in derivative products that are inextricably dependent on supranational location. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – North World regulatory principle operates within consolidated state frameworks, dislocated market societies and reflects socially disembedded productivity relationships. The same could be said for dominant economic regulatory scholarship. More recent efforts to develop critical analysis of South World regulatory problems and answers have consistently remained connected to the referent of the regulatory state. This paper questions the utility of such a comparative conviction in a global governance reality wherein South World regulatory environments are largely subject to North World state interests and multi-national opportunism fostered by disaggregated, often dysfunctional, domestic states. Findings – If, as in many South World contexts, the state is dysfunctional or destructive in translating regulatory principle, then what are the social bonds which advance the integrity of regulatory principle, and what of externalities which work to draw culturally located principle towards a more hegemonic regulatory project? Could appreciating the relationship between regulatory principle and social bonding be exhibited in degrees of market embeddedness? Might the reimagining of regulatory principle be possible by reflecting on motives and outcomes for regulation that have other than wealth maximization as core value? The paper answers these conjectures as a basis for empirical research. Research limitations/implications – In the spirit of regulatory anthropology it is not helpful to remain immersed in some strained geographic regulatory dichotomy, employing some good state/bad state polarity. Neither World exists in regulatory isolation. International regulatory organizations ensure this through their Western/Northern development models, and perpetuate post-colonial influences over South World development agendas. That said, there are two regulatory worlds, and hybrids between. Despite this, regulatory principle is not immune from cultural forces and social bonding. The paper addresses various dualities in order to propose a new way of viewing South World regulatory paradigms. Practical implications – The framework for analysis will enable a repositioning of critical scholarship and regulatory policy away from the model frameworks of consolidated states and towards the real regulatory needs and potentials of the South World. Social implications – Through applying the analytical technique of social embeddedness above market community paradigms this analysis offers a novel approach to exploring economy in contexts where markets are not dislocated and products are not fictitious. In this way the contemporary materialist economic crisis can be viewed against principles of sustainability rather than growth, productivity and exchange. Originality/value – The paper draws upon established scholarship regarding market embeddedness and social bonding but unique in applying this to a South World void of regulatory discourse set free of comparison with inappropriate regulatory state referents.


Development, Governance, Culture, Economic philosophy/theory, Global political economy, Social goods


Law and Economics | Political Economy

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance


International Journal of Social Economics





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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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