[SydPhil] Mariana Valverde

Martin Krygier m.krygier at unsw.edu.au
Fri Aug 22 10:38:30 AEST 2014


The UNSW Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law
invites you to attend
an evening seminar:

Mariana Valverde


The Myth of the Municipal Corporation: Local Government Assemblages

Dean's Board Room
2nd Floor

DRINKS: 5.30 - 6.00 pm
Would those interested in attending the seminar please let Martin Krygier (m.krygier at unsw.edu.au<mailto:m.krygier at unsw.edu.au>) know ahead of time.

The Myth of the Municipal Corporation: Local Government Assemblages
Mariana Valverde

It is widely believed that contemporary public-private partnerships and special-purpose bodies delivering local infrastructure and services are recent, neoliberal inventions. While it is true that neoliberal political winds have encouraged local governance arrangements using private or quasi-private legal forms, as the literature on "planning by contract" outlines, historical research suggests that hybrid governance networks and one-off special authorities have played important roles for centuries. The long history of urban governance beyond the standard-issue municipal corporation also sheds new light on the conventional story about public and private corporations being sharply and permanently differentiated in the mid-nineteenth century. The efforts to standardize urban governance (e.g. the English Municipal Corporations Act of 1835) and to draw a line separating public, financially hampered corporations from private, less restricted corporations (e.g. the US Supreme Court 1819 decision in Dartmouth College) may have been more successful in the realm of doctrine (e.g. John Dillon's treatise than in practice. Thus, in regard to today's governance dilemmas, I would suggest that normative arguments about whether public-private partnerships are good or bad are less useful than historical and empirical research on the governance creativity through which a dizzying array of local authorities have been put together with surprisingly little regard for the conventional divides between public and private law and public and private interests.

A preliminary working draft of the paper is attached, including some explanatory notes by way of background.


The University of Toronto's Professor Mariana Valverde<http://individual.utoronto.ca/marianavalverde/> came to legal studies not through academic study but via a feminist engagement with sexuality and the law. Recently she has mainly done research on urban law and governance, historically and in the present. She is the author of six sole-authored books, six co-edited collections, about 50 refereed journal articles, and various research reports and popular publications; she has twice won the Law and Society Association's Jacob award, its main book prize. She teaches theory, sociolegal studies, and sexuality studies at the University of Toronto, and has written extensively on theoretical questions, particularly Nietzsche, actor-network theory, and the use of Foucaultian tools in legal studies. Her book Chronotopes of Law: Jurisdiction, Scale and Governance<http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415715584/> will be published by Glasshouse/Routledge in the winter of 2014. This shows how Bakthin's work on dialogsm and spatiotemporality can be used to overcome legal studies' current tendency to separate spatial analyses from theorizations of temporality, and in the process wholly neglecting jurisdiction.
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