Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   




  Governance has become one of the keywords of anglophone social science during the 1990s especially in political theory, political science and human geography. The traditional definition is \'the act or process of governing\'. Here \'governance\' is synonymous with \'government\'. However, recent academic usage usually distinguishes governance from government. Two different broad uses of the term can be identified.

The first use refers to the nature of organizations. Governance is defined as the involvement of a wide range of institutions and actors in the production of policy outcomes, including non-governmental organizations, quangos, private companies, pressure groups and social movements as well as those state institutions traditionally regarded as formally part of the government. Here \'governance\' is a broader category than \'government\', with government being one component of governance among many. To some extent this definition is a belated recognition that the coordination of complex social systems and the steering of societal development have never been the responsibilities of the state alone, but have always involved interaction between a range of state and non-state actors. Most writers, though, go further than this and argue that the state has become less prominent and non-state organizations have become relatively more important within the overall process of governance.

The second use refers to the nature of the relationships between organizations. Here governance refers to a particular form of coordination. In contrast with the top-down control in coordination through hierarchy and the individualized relationship in coordination through markets, governance involves coordination through networks and partnerships. Governance refers to \'the “self-organization of inter-organizational relations”\' ( Jessop, 1997a, p. 59) or to \'self-organizing, interorgan-izational networks\' (Rhodes, 1997, p. 53). Writers adopting this usage commonly refer to a shift in the nature of coordination in contemporary societies from government (\'hierarchy\') to governance.

Rhodes draws on both the above uses and expands his definition to incorporate four salient features, as follows:

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Interdependence between organizations. Governance is broader than government, covering non-state actors. Changing the boundaries of the state meant the boundaries between public, private and voluntary sectors became more shifting and opaque. {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Continuing interactions between network members, caused by the need to exchange resources and negotiate shared purposes. {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Game-like interactions, rooted in trust and regulated by rules of the game negotiated and agreed upon by network participants. {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } A significant degree of autonomy from the state. Networks are not accountable to the state; they are self-organizing. Although the state does not occupy a sovereign position, it can indirectly and imperfectly steer networks (Rhodes, 1997, p. 53).Governance is a rapidly expanding field of both theoretical and empirical enquiry. Four areas of development can be noted.

The use of network theories. A number of different approaches to understanding networks have been drawn on by governance theorists including Rhodes\' own \'policy network\' approach (Rhodes, 1997) and actor-network theory (e.g. Murdoch and Marsden, 1995).

The implications of social complexity (Amin and Hausner, 1997). Jessop argues (1997b, p. 59) that the recent \'discovery [of governance] could well reflect the dramatic intensification of societal complexity which flows from growing functional differentiation of institutional orders within an increasingly global society, with all that this implies for the widening and deepening of systemic interdependencies across various social, spatial and temporal horizons\'. One implication of complexity is that all forms of coordination, including governance, are prone to failure ( Jessop, 1997b).

The spatial restructuring of governance. The shift from government to governance has been associated with the hollowing-out of the state (Jessop, 1994): the loss of central state functions to (i) other spatial scales such as the supra-national (e.g. the European Union) and the infra-national (e.g. autonomous regions, local bodies) and (ii) non-state institutions (private companies, voluntary organizations). Much work on governance in human geography has focused on this issue of spatial restructuring, including studies of local and urban governance (e.g. Goodwin and Painter, 1996); and rural governance ( Journal of Rural Studies, 1998).

Empirical research to assess the claims that coordination through network relations is emerging as a core feature of political and economic life. (JP)

References Amin, A. and Hausner, J. 1997: Interactive governance and social complexity. In A. Amin, and J. Hausner, eds, Beyond market and hierarchy: interactive governance and social complexity. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1-31. Goodwin, M. and Painter, J. 1996: Local governance, the crises of Fordism and the changing geographies of regulation. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers 21: 635-48. Jessop, B. 1994: Post-Fordism and the state. In A. Amin, ed., Post-Fordism: a reader. Oxford: Blackwell, 251-79. Jessop, B. 1997a: A neo-Gramscian approach to the regulation of urban regimes: accumulation strategies, hegemonic projects and governance. In M. Lauria, ed., Reconstructing urban regime theory: regulating urban politics in a global economy. London: Sage, 51-76. Jessop, B. 1997b: The governance of complexity and the complexity of governance: preliminary remarks on some problems and limits of economic guidance. In A. Amin, and J. Hausner, eds, Beyond market and hierarchy: interactive governance and social complexity. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 95-128. Journal of Rural Studies, 1998: Special issue on rural governance. Journal of Rural Studies 14 (1). Murdoch, J. and Marsden, T. 1995: The spatialization of politics: local and national actor-spaces in environmental conflict. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 20: 368-80. Rhodes, R. 1997: Understanding governance. Buckingham: Open University Press.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>


Other Terms : tariff | merit good | population geography
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us