Director's Statement

Working Papers

Research Awards


Judicialization and the Construction of Governance

Alec Stone Sweet

CCOP Working Paper #1999-04
January, 1999

I present a model of the emergence and evolution of governance, conceived (narrowly) as the continuous resolution of dyadic conflicts by a third party. The model is comprised of three core elements: normative structure, dyadic contracting, and triadic dispute resolution. I demonstrate that a move to triadic dispute resolution leads the triadic dispute resolver to construct, and then to manage, specific causal relationships between exchange, conflict, and rules. Once established, triadic governance perpetuates a discourse about the rulefulness of individual behavior, and this discourse gradually penetrates and is absorbed into those repertoires of reasoning and action that constitute political agency. In this way, political life is judicialized. The model further predicts that, under certain specified conditions, the triad will constitute a crucial mechanism of (micro and macro) political change. I then illustrate the power of the model to explain judicialization and the dynamics of change in two very different political systems: the international trade regime and the French Fifth Republic. In the conclusion, I draw out the implications of the analysis for our understanding of the complex relationship between strategic behavior and social structure.


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