Poul F. Kjaer is Professor of Governance and Political Economy at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School. He holds degrees in political science (Aarhus University), law (European University Institute, Florence) and sociology (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main). He has completed research stays at, among others, Bar-Ilan University Tel Aviv, École des hautes études en sciences sociales , Harvard University, Humboldt University Berlin, London School of Economics and Political Science and Sciences Po Paris. He is principal investigator for the European Research Council project ‘Institutional Transformation in European Political Economy – A Socio-legal Approach’. In his latest book, Constitutionalism in the Global Realm – A Sociological Approach (Routledge, 2014), he developed a sociological theory of transnational constitutions.
Social, Politcal and Legal Theory and Philosophy; European Integration, Governance and Political Economy; Sociology of Law; Constitutional Theory and Practice; Global Governance and Historical Sociology.
From the Crisis of Corporatism to the Crisis of Governance: Societal Breakdowns and the Evolution of Intermediary Institutions in Europe from the Interwar Period until Today
The project develops a new take on the emergence and causes of societal crises, asking how they emerge and unfold as well as analysing their consequences. The basis is a novel historical sociology of law approach emphasising the centrality of intermediary institutions, in their corporatist, neo-corporatist and governance variants, for the understanding of both the emergence and prevention of societal crises.
First, a new theoretical and conceptual framework for understanding societal crises is developed emphasising the overlapping and mutually reinforcing relationship between different types of crisis; e.g. economic, educational, juridical, political and social crises.
Second, a historical perspective is unfolded which provides a longitudinal study of profound societal crisis and their relations to intermediary institutions in Europe from the interwar period, over the 1970s crisis to the still on-going contemporary crisis. On this background, the three crises will respectively be re-conceptualised as a ‘crisis of corporatism’, a ‘crisis of neo-corporatism’ and a ‘crisis of governance’.
Third, the role of law in structuring intermediary institutions is brought to the forefront. It is argued, that interwar corporatism and contemporary governance share an anti-legalistic stand which implies a move towards a suspension of the legal structuring of exchanges between the economic and political dimensions of society and this is seen as a root cause of profound societal crises.