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The Limits of Private Governance

Norms and Rules in a Mediterranean Fishery

By: Florian Grisel
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Published: 07-10-2021
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 224
ISBN: 9781509938155
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £76.50
Online price : £61.20
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About The Limits of Private Governance

Is there a future for the law? In this book, Florian Grisel addresses one of the most fascinating questions raised by social scientists in the past few decades. Since the 1980s, socio-legal scholars have argued that governance based on social norms (or “private governance”) can offer an alternative to regulation by the law. On this account, private governance could be socially efficient and even optimal compared with other modes of governance.

The Limits of Private Governance supplements this optimistic analysis of private governance by assessing the long-term evolution of a private order in the fishery of Marseille. In the last eight centuries, the fishers of Marseille have regulated their community without apparent means of legal support from the French state. In the early 15th century, they even created an organisation called the Prud'homie de Pêche in order to regulate their fishery.

Based on archival evidence, interviews and ethnographic data, Grisel examines the evolution of the Prud'homie de Pêche and argues that the strong social norms in which it is embedded are not only powerful tools of governance, but also forces of inertia that have constrained its regulatory action.

The lessons drawn from this book will appeal to academics, policy-makers and members of the general public who have an interest in the governance of our modern societies.

Table Of Contents


Part I: Genesis
1. Social Order in the Fishery of Marseille
The Rise of Private Orders
The Prud'homie: A System of Private Governance?
Norms and Rules in Systems of Private Governance

2. From Norms to Rules
The Fishers of Marseille and their Social Norms
The Birth of the Prud'homie and its Rule-Making Functions
Accommodating New Practices: The Case of the Floating Nets

Part II: Resistance
3. Along Came Globalisation
The Madragues in the Fishery of Marseille
Labour Migrations and the Arrival of the Catalans

4. A Battle of Norms
Engines and Dragnets
Dynamite Fishing
Electric Light as Bait
Postscript: Provençal poem, by Pierre Molinari (1875)

Part III: Collapse
5. Law and (Private) Order
The Creeping Codification of the Prud'homie
The State Strikes Back
Fill or Kill: The EU's Regulatory Agenda

6. Between Facts and Beliefs
The Precarious Survival of the Prud'homie
The Limits of Private Governance


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