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The Power of Standards
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Book description

Standards often remain unseen, yet they play a fundamental part in the organisation of contemporary capitalism and society at large. What form of power do they epitomise? Why have they become so prominent? Are they set to be as important for the globalisation of services as for manufactured goods? Graz draws on international political economy and cognate fields to present strong theoretical arguments, compelling research and surprising evidence on the role of standards in the global expansion of services, with in-depth studies of their institutional environment and cases including the insurance industry and business process outsourcing in India. The power of standards resembles a form of transnational hybrid authority, in which ambiguity should be seen as a generic attribute, defining not only the status of public and private actors involved in standardisation and regulation, but also the scope of issues concerned and the space in which such authority is recognised when complying to standards. This book is also available as Open Access.


'This volume makes a significant contribution to scholarship on global governance. It traces the 'power of standards' and its connections to 'hybrid authority'. Steering clear of simplifications, the volume emphasizes the generic ambiguity of the standards that define the status of public and private actors, the issues and the spaces of global governance that in turn redefine the standards. The volume does this moving from an overarching analysis of the trade in services, to an analysis of the insurance industry and the outsourcing of business processes to India. Graz offers a refreshingly non-dogmatic, empirically grounded engagement with the questions surrounding who governs, how and with what implications in the contemporary world.'

Anna Leander - Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement, Geneva

'Standardisation, originating from the world of engineers and production companies, is now also being applied for services and complex technical and societal systems. Its increasing importance for shaping business and society challenges the role of governments. This book provides better understanding.'

Henk J. de Vries - Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

'The Power of Standards is a must-read book for all those interested in the functioning of transnational regulation, hybrid authority and present-day spaces of globalization. Drawing empirically on the services industry and on India in particular, Graz provides insightful theoretical reflections on how ambiguity confers authority across sovereign spaces, and thus informs key current debates in international relations and international political economy.'

Stefano Ponte - Copenhagen Business School

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Full book PDF
  • The Power of Standards
    pp i-ii
  • The Power of Standards - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • Hybrid Authority and the Globalisation of Services
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Contents
    pp v-v
  • Figures
    pp vi-vi
  • Tables
    pp vii-vii
  • Acknowledgements
    pp viii-x
  • 1 - Introduction
    pp 1-23
  • 2 - The Rise of Transnational Hybrid Authority
    pp 24-53
  • A Primer
  • 3 - Service Offshoring
    pp 54-85
  • The New Frontier of Globalisation
  • 4 - Standards as Regulation
    pp 86-113
  • 5 - Doubling Security
    pp 114-139
  • Prudential Standards for Insurance Regulation
  • 6 - Standards to Create New Insurance Markets
    pp 140-172
  • 7 - The World Office
    pp 173-208
  • Standards and Business Process Outsourcing in India
  • 8 - Conclusions
    pp 209-222
  • References
    pp 223-245
  • Index
    pp 246-258


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