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Sociology Colloquium, 4/6/2022

Navigating the French Deep State From Within: An Extreme Case of Joint Regulation of Business at the Commercial Court of Paris

Dr. Emmanuel Lazega, Sciences Po Center for the Study of Organizations Paris

How is market discipline enforced in France, a country in which the Sun King’s administration created a new kind of deep state in the 17th century? In this presentation we focus on an extreme case of joint regulation of markets (by business and the state) in a 450 years-old institution, a first level judicial and so-called “consular” court in which lay and voluntary judges, all businesspeople, sit in judgment of commercial litigation and bankruptcy. To characterize this form of joint regulation we use a longitudinal network study of advice seeking among these judges, as well as face to face interviews and jurisprudential exercises carried out with them about their normative choices in areas of discretionary decision making (damages in cases of unfair competition; conflicts between boards and minority shareholders; etc.). An organizational analysis of the court and stochastic blockmodeling and Siena models of the advice networks shed light on several ways in which the financial industry dominates this institution and form of joint regulation. Judges who are bankers with a law degree surf at the top of the cyclical dynamics of the court’s advice network. They use this influential position to share and spread their financial legal pragmatism among the other judges, setting the premises of the court’s decisions. Our neo-structural approach and this case in point help shed light on long term strategies used by organized business, especially finance, to navigate the French notoriously deep state from within.

April  6, 2022
Wednesday, 11:45am

Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 954 7703 6703
Passcode:  378673

If you cannot join with video, you can connect to the Zoom session via phone: 1–346–248–7799