A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Contestation in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: Enhancing the Democratic Quality of Transnational Governance

Publication Details
Authors: Arenas Daniel, Albareda Laura, Goodman Jennifer
Publisher: Philosophy Documentation Center / Cambridge University Press (CUP): HSS Journals - No Cambridge Open
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Business Ethics Quarterly
Volume number: 30
Issue number: 2
Start page: 169
End page: 199
Number of pages: 31
ISSN: 1052-150X
JUFO-Level of this publication: 2
Open Access: Not an Open Access publication


This article studies multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) as spaces for both deliberation and contestation

between constituencies with competing discourses and disputed values, beliefs, and preferences. We review

different theoretical perspectives on MSIs, which see them mainly as spaces to find solutions to market

problems (economic approach), as spaces of conflict and bargaining (political approach), or as spaces of

consensus (deliberative approach). In contrast, we build on a contestatory deliberative perspective, which

gives equal value to both contestation and consensus. We identify four types of internal contestation which

can be present in MSIs—procedural, inclusiveness, epistemic, and ultimate-goal—and argue that embracing

contestation and engaging in ongoing revision of provisional agreements, criteria, and goals can enhance the

democratic quality of MSIs. Finally, we explore the implications of this perspective for theorizing about the

democratic quality in MSIs and about the role of corporations in transnational governance.

Last updated on 2020-28-08 at 10:10