administration are fully constituted, but both still need to happen in a context
of the ‘diverse activities of a complex,multifarious world.’3
A central political question of this administrative law scholarship is delegation.
How can one understand the delegation of power and authority – for example,
from a polity to an administrator – in a world of fragmented governance? In
this scholarship,neither sovereign polity nor administrator is stably constituted –
and thus mapping the delegation of power and authority that legitimates ad-
ministrative action is analytically challenging,even as it is normatively desirable.
In par ticular, this fragmented, or ‘postmoder n’, condition of administrative law4
troubles four basic yet once stable dimensions of delegation:what to delegate,
how to do so, from whom to whom, and on what principles. Scholars of ad-
ministrative law, transnational law, and international politics, in particular have
worked to capture and theorise the complexities and movement in each of these
four questions and stitch them together into some view of the administrative
In this paper, I introduce a set of contemporary practices of governance re-
form that, rather than tackle this question, reframe it in what I argue are politi-
cally powerful, and perhaps troublesome, ways.These practices, under a general
rubric ofcontemporary ‘rule of law’ and ‘governance’ reform,are of i nterest becaus e of
the novelty of their approach,and also because of their scale.They are not in any
meaningful sense paradigmatic – in that they have not cohered into an agenda
or discipline. However, they emerge out of the operations of international de-
velopment (meaning they have transnational scale);and are large enough to be a
‘movement’6networked into a range of domestic and global public authorities
(inuencing their policies and expenditure).
As I will argue, they engage with, and move beyond, postmodern admin-
istrative law in ways that administrative law and regulation scholars need to
understand. These practices are novel insofar as they are marked by the self-
denial of the knowledge, power,and exper tise of their practitioners – or their
self-eacement – in ways that limit or bracket the constitutive role of these prac-
titioners. Not only do practitioners recognise the challenges of constituting a
polity and administrator,they embrace the challenges, continually pointing out
that it is impossible to adequately theorise who a polity and administrator might
be. Instead, they begin with the assumption that some sort of administration
occurs in the development contexts in which they work – ie that politics and
administration will always already be related in some way. They call this an ‘ad-
ministrative ction’. Their practices then focus on how to convene a political
3 P. Wapner, ‘Governance in Global Civil Society’ in O. Young (ed), Global Governance: Drawing
Insights from the Environmental Experience (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,1997) 82.
4 K.-H. Ladeur, ‘The Postmodern Condition of Law and Societal ‘Management of Rules’’ (2016)
27 Zeitschrift für Rechtssoziologie 87; L. R. Hirshman, ‘Postmodern Jurisprudence and the Problem
of Administrative Discretion: Trends in the Law’ (1987) 82 Northwestern University Law Review
5 For a summary,see A.von Bogdandy,M. Goldmann and I. Venzke,‘From Public International to
International Public Law:Translating WorldPublic Opinion into Inter national Public Authority’
(2017) 28 European Journal of International Law 115.
6 M. Andrews, L. Pritchett and M. Woolcock, Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action
© 2020 The Author.The Modern Law Review© 2020 The Moder n Law ReviewLimited.
(2020) 83(6) MLR 1168–1187 1169