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Conference Papers Year : 2012

Putting Interests Back In: Vertical and Horizontal Political Devices in REACH


This paper examines the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) as a site where actors from different levels of governance have articulated the production of knowledge and governance norms in the context of the Europeanization process. The ECHA, established by the 1907/2006 Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), is a critical space of changing regulatory knowledge in Europe. I will tell the regulatory trajectories of two chemical substances as they become European and focus on the process of European integration in the face of national, European and industrial interests. The analysis shows that the delegation of powers to this recent regulatory agency, supposed to achieve various claims of subsidiarity, accountability and efficiency, is more complex than it is often assumed. Even further, the ECHA's creation illustrates the limits of the centralization of powers in the hands of the European Commission with a tendency to privilege national arrangements and economic reasoning. By following the trajectories of two chemicals, I will show how the Agency ultimately casts itself as a space of uncertainties and opportunities, where national, European, and industrial interests are articulated. Within this network of coproduced practices, cultures, norms and procedures, the STS literature will be mobilized along with political theory in order to get a better understanding Europeanization in an approach that reconciles postpluralism and constructivism. I will conclude that, to achieve legitimacy, the regulatory agency operates under a set of institutional, cultural and political considerations that allows to discuss to the underlying dynamic of cryptofederalism.
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hal-00828877 , version 1 (31-05-2013)


  • HAL Id : hal-00828877 , version 1


Henri Boullier. Putting Interests Back In: Vertical and Horizontal Political Devices in REACH. Society for Social Studies of Science and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, Oct 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark. ⟨hal-00828877⟩
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