|The paper aims to introduce some basic concepts from the sociology of the professions to the debate on global governance. While hierarchies, markets and networks are often described as the most basic modes of global governance, profession-oriented mechanisms should also be taken into account. Professionalized practice – or „reflective practice“, as Donald Schön has called it – should not be confused with the technical application of expert knowledge. Rather, professional actors fulfill their tasks on the basis of specific hermeneutical skills which allow for a case-oriented and context-sen¬sitive approach. As an empirical illustration, the paper includes (1) the case of international law reform assistance, which has become an important mechanism of governance in Europe and beyond, and (2) the practice of environmental auditing in multinational companies. Both cases demonstrate the damage which arises if experts fail to adopt a context-sensitive approach. At the same time, however, it becomes evident that many ex¬perts are highly aware of these technocratic dangers. They develop their own standards of good practice, and furthermore, they try to establish institutional structures which help to support a professionalized mode of action.
zip-file approx. 812 kB
pdf-file approx. 893 kB