When global norms meet local politics: Localising transparency in extractive industries governance

- 26 April 2020

Trade topics: Extractive Industries Governance, Indonesia, Norm Localisation, Transparency

Processes of norm localisation play a crucial role in shaping the extent to which global governance norms are institutionalised at national and sub-national levels. This article explores the politics of norm localisation through an empirical investigation of how global norms of “transparency” were localised in sub-national processes of extractive industry governance in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. Previous theories of localisation have emphasised “constructivist” dynamics through which patterns of norm localisation are shaped decisively by efforts to build normative or cognitive congruence with local ideas and identities. In contrast, the mix of a newly democratised environment, the persistent power of corporatist elite networks and a populist style of local politics prevailing in Bojonegoro have diminished the signifi- cance of such constructivist dynamics as a basis for explaining varied patterns of norm localisation. Instead, patterns of norm localisation have depended crucially on the capacity of local political leaders to harness global governance norms instrumentally as a basis for consolidating and strengthening their own local power base. These findings have important implications for both theoretical and practical understandings of how global norm localisation processes vary in response to the contrasting political contexts in which global governance norms targeting the extractive sector are implemented.