Formal appropriations and corporate formations

Benedicta Rousseau (University of Waikato)
John Taylor (La Trobe University)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel invites participants to consider the notions of agency, efficacy and coherence that inform the appropriation of particular bureaucratic, legal and governmental forms and structures in processes of corporate formation.

Long abstract:

This panel invites participants to investigate ethnographically the proposition that access to power resides in strategic appropriation of the range of bureaucratic, legal and governmental forms and structures that originate in, but now circulate beyond the ownership of the modern state. The process of appropriating, perhaps a particular committee structure or certain epistolary style, may involve the attachment of alternative meanings to forms and structures, informed by differing ambitions and judgments of efficacy that rest in a specific cultural logic. Our aim is to pay attention to the role of form in negotiations over access to power and resources, with particular reference to group or corporate formation. How do persons and groups promote themselves, their interests and their potential actions through form and structure? How is the group appropriation of certain formal properties encouraged through development processes initiated by the state, NGOs or other non-state actors, particularly through the portrayal of networks and possibilities - in terms of recognition, affiliation and access to resources - that may be opened up through their adoption? How are claims to representivity, authority and/or coherence framed through form or structure? And how can the intent of forms and structures be subverted through alternative interpretations of the range of actions they enable and resources they make available?