Durham in London: Public Debate on Governance

Thursday 22 June 


Scales of Governance:  How we rule ourselves and each other

A Durham University Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) public debate

Thursday 22 June, 7.30pm to 10pm

Chartered Accountants Hall, One Moorgate Place, London, EC2R 6EA

Panel: Professor Dame Sandra Dawson; Dr Giles Fraser; Professor Kristine Kern; and Dr Ulrike Guérot
Chair: Professor Veronica Strang

The IAS debate in London is the University’s premiere annual academic event in the capital. It attracts leading thinkers and significant media attention.

This year’s debate examines governance. When we think about this we usually think about Government. But humans govern themselves on multiple scales, as individual persons; as families and kin groups; as sub-cultural and religious groups; and – of course – through national and international bodies. 

In accord with the IAS’s 2016-17 research theme of Scale, this event explores different scales of governance, and how these strive to create social and material order by applying rules and regulations to our lives. Bringing diverse disciplinary perspectives together, it considers how concepts of governance recur at different scales, and how multiple scales of rule-making and regulation interact with each other. 

Our panel brings together expertise about governance at every scale, and it will consider questions such as:
•   What do we mean by governance? Is it simply a mechanism for maintaining social order, or is its primary purpose to maintain specific systems of power?
•   How do individual efforts to ‘self-govern’ minds, bodies and emotions intersect with familial, local and wider processes of governing?
•   Cultural beliefs and values are manifested in rules and regulations. How can we reconcile very different ideas about governance?
•   What is the relationship between physical territory (the home, the town, the city, the nation) and governance?
•   Is there a scale beyond which governance cannot be effective? Can efforts to enact global governance and legislation succeed?

The Panel

The panel will be composed of the following participants:


Professor Dame Sandra Dawson, DBE, FAcSS, is a social scientist and the KPMG Professor of Management Studies in the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, where she has also held posts as a Deputy Vice Chancellor, and as the Master of Sidney Sussex College. She was previously the Professor of Organisational Behaviour in the National Health Service, and Deputy Director of the Management School at Imperial College. She has held multiple senior appointments in academic, government and private institutions, for example in the Institute of Government; the Financial Services Authority and in the Prime Minister's Council on Science and Technology. She has a role as a trustee for Oxfam; and as a Director at several major banks, and she is a member of the UK-India Round Table.


Dr Giles Fraser was a visiting Professor in the anthropology department at the London School of Economics, but is now best known as a journalist and broadcaster, with weekly columns for the Guardian and regular contributions to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and The Moral Maze. He is also a Church of England Priest, and was previously a director of the St Paul’s Institute and Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, with special responsibility for contemporary ethics and engagement with the City of London as a financial centre. He is currently the parish priest at St Mary's, Newington in south London.


Professor Kristine Kern, is a political scientist and holds the Chair for Urban Infrastructure and Governance of Global Change at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS). She has had appointments at the Free University Berlin; as DAAD visiting professor at the University of Minnesota; as visiting Professor at Södertörn University in Stockholm and as a member of the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University. Her current research interests focus on local and regional climate and energy policy, sustainable development of cities and regions, transnational networks of cities, European regional seas (Baltic Sea in particular) and the EU macro-regional strategies.


Dr Ulrike Guérot is Founder and Director of the European Democracy Lab at the European School of Governance in Berlin. She writes about European Democracy and global Europe, has taught at renowned universities in Europe and the US and has 20 years’ experience in the European think tank community. Since early 2016 she has been the Professor and Director of the Department for European Policy and the study of Democracy at the Donau-University in Krems, Austria, and is the author of new book Warum Europa eine Republik werden muss! Eine politische Utopie (Why Europe Needs to Become a Republic. A Political Utopia).

The panel will be chaired by the Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study, Professor Veronica Strang, an anthropologist whose research on human engagements with water includes an interest in transnational corporations and water ownership and control. She has worked extensively with UNESCO (receiving an international water prize in 2007), and is currently assisting the UN in developing some international Principles for Water. She is the author of The Meaning of Water (2004), Ownership and Appropriation (2011) and Gardening the World (2009). She also writes extensively on interdisciplinarity itself, and is increasingly involved in the development of UK policy and practice in this area.

Not available for this event

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