I’m a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, studying and teaching about governance.
Governance, especially governance in institutions, means systems of rules and norms and also more than that. Governance means how (and why, and when) the communicative and organizational practices of a diverse world are embodied in durable forms. What’s an institution? How do institutions work? How do institutions function when they intersect and overlap? When and how and why are institutions beneficial? Or costly, or harmful? How do institutions glue us together, shaping social, cultural, economic, and political life? When and how do institutions fail us?
Stripped of academic jargon, that adds up to learning how social systems form and survive over time, given inevitable differences among individuals and groups. Academic disciplines. Scientific communities. Genres and styles in the arts. Open source collectives. Urban agglomerations, neighborhoods, and small towns. Fandom in the arts and in sports. Community volunteerism.
I got my start in law, decades ago, as a corporate and commercial lawyer. I worked my way into a practice area that focused on problems facing technology clients in Silicon Valley. When I left law practice and became a law professor, I became an intellectual property (IP) and technology law researcher and teacher. IP law turns out to be about the social dimensions of knowledge. When, why, and how do we hoard knowledge? Share it? Answers to those questions lead to — and follow — governance of cultural and social life.
Researching institutional governance means that I also look at a lot of other, different things. The organization of global football (soccer, to many). Data, algorithms, AI, and security and privacy. The history of research science. Universities. Post-industrial urbanism. Fair use in copyright law, the arts, and computer networks. Modern leadership and management practices.
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