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Part 1 - On Governance
The emergence of Governance as a concept
Government and (Global) Governance
Governance by, with and without Government
The State and Shadows of Hierarchy
Shadows of Hierarchy beyond the State
Governance and Governmentality
Part 2 - On Security Governance
Defining the Security Sector
Matrix of Security Governance Approaches
World Bank and Good Governance of the Security Sector
Security Governance and Public Policy
Security Governance from a Global Governance Perspective
Security Governance and the EU as a security governance actor
Criminology and the Nodal Governance of Security
Security governance according to Huysmans
Peacebuilding and State-building as Security Governance
Part 3 - On Security Sector Reform
History of SSR and Main Approaches
SSR and Governance
SSR and Local Ownership
Involving Non-State Actors in SSR
Coordination and the Holistic Nature of SSR
At the turn of the century, the international community agreed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The objective was to achieve a series of goals associated with human development in the economic, social, environmental and political spheres. To implement the MDGs focus shifted from state centred government to the inclusion of private and civil society actors as well as an increase in the number and scale of external intervention to improve domestic governance processes. In addition, external interventions, as well as new patterns of interaction between local, national and global state and non-state actors have not been limited to the economic and social sphere but are very much present in domains of (in)security. The recognition of the importance of the global-local interplay has been accompanied by a greater awareness of the interdependence of security and development in what is now known as the security-development nexus (Duffield 2007, Stern & Öjendal 2010).
Globalisation, as well as the increasing links between security and development was accompanied by an increasing trend in the outsourcing of government functions and the introduction of private and civil society actors in traditional state sectors. Thus, the delivery of state functions shifted from a focus on government to governance. Whether nationally, regionally and globally governance was perceived as the panacea to the state’s lack of resources, legitimacy or presence (Krahmann 2003:10f). In the international community, domestic governance was increasingly seen as key to bridging the security-development nexus and implementing the MDGs. However, in order to understand these trends and the global-domestic interplay that has accompanied it, we must first proceed with a conceptual clarification regarding the term governance whether global or domestic.
Governance is an essentially contested concept which has been used in different contexts and in different disciplines such as international relations, institutional economics, management, corporate governance and political science. It has become a buzzword to refer to a great variety of processes ranging from the new public management to intergovernmental relationships (Jessop 1998: 29; Frederickson 2007; Held & McGrew 2002). The issue of governance emerged when social scientists began to explore various inter-related phenomena such as shifting strategies of governing people, organisations, societies and systems (Stocker 1998), the interaction between public and private actors in societies (Jessop 1998) and the importance of transnational processes for domestic jurisdictions (Rosenau 1999). Numerous definitions have been offered and there is little agreement over the exact meaning of the term. In this context, Finkelstein (1995: 368) argues that “’Global governance appears to be virtually anything... [and that we] say ‘governance’ because we don’t really know what to call what is going on.”
In any case, new patterns of interaction between state and civil society are emerging and require the development of a new conceptual lens (Kooiman 1993: 1, 6; Frederickson 2007: 292; Held & McGrew 2002). For example, the ‘hollowing-out of the state’, glocalising processes, post-Keynesian economics, post-industrialism, the end of the welfare state and the increased prominence of private actors, amongst others, have radically transformed the world and have thereby opened the door to the study of governance (Stocker 1998: 19, 21; Rhodes 2003: 17; Mayntz 1993: 9; Peters & Pierre 1998: 223-224; Czempiel & Rosenau 1992). From various disciplines scholars began to look for an adequate theoretical approach to understand transformations at the global, regional and national levels. Scholars from public administration and policy focused on the reform of the public sector towards privatisation, fragmentation and decentralisation in European countries while scholars of international relations were mainly concerned with the challenge of transnational and international organisations to the sovereignty and primacy of states (Kjaer 2004). Scholars in European Studies or comparative politics focused on other issues of concern to their own discipline. Nevertheless, the increased interest in the concept of governance was the result of a shared need to understand a globalising world where political practices and realities were changing rapidly.
In the late 20th century, the term governance emerged from notions of government and a broad transition from government to governance took place. Traditionally, the term government refers to formal state institutions, their role, power and processes to ensure the functioning of the state, the protection of order and the application of the law (Stocker 1998: 17). The state is assumed to be sovereign, territorially-bound and as having a monopoly over the use of violence. Up until recently, the term governance was often used in dictionaries and academic literature as a synonym for government. However, growing attention to globalising processes and evolving patterns of government has led to a redirection in the use of the term governance and Rhodes (1996: 652-653) equates governance with “a change in the meaning of government, referring to a new process of governing…or the new method by which society is governed.” Stocker (1998: 17) explains the difference between government and governance by the fact that “[g]overnance is ultimately concerned with creating the conditions for ordered rule and collective action. The outputs of governance are not therefore different from those of government. It is rather a matter of a difference in processes.” Rosenau (1992: 4) argues that the two terms differ in that government corresponds to “activities that are backed by formal authority, by police powers to insure the implementation of duly constituted policies” while governance refers to “activities backed by shared goals that may or may not derive from legal or formally prescribed responsibilities” - thereby including informal and non-governmental processes. Finally, according to Jessop, governance includes “the modes and manner of governing” while the meaning of government is solely limited “to the institutions and agents charged with governing” (1998: 30). Depending on their disciplinary affiliation, scholars may focus implicitly or explicitly on the geo-political government of states, corporate government by business and market actors or domestic government through policy networks. However, across many disciplines, the focus shifted from government to governance (Kjaer 2004).
Public Administration and Public Policy
Within the field of public administration and public policy, the study of governance focuses on the emergence and role of policy networks as well as their interaction with the state to achieve collective goods. In this context, governance is about governing with and through “self-organizing, interorganizational networks” and particular attention is paid to inter-jurisdictional relations, the influence of non-state actors and policy implementation by third-parties or private actors (Rhodes 2007: 1246; 2003: 15). In this regard, Box (1998: 2) argues that governance includes “the entire range of activities of citizens, elected representatives, and public professionals as they create and implement public policy in communities.” This includes all formal and informal actions by citizens and state officials in the policy process writ large. Jan Kooiman (2003: 6), a leading figure in the debate, goes beyond policy networks and defines governance as the theoretical conceptions of
“the totality of interactions, in which public as well as private actors participate, aimed at solving societal problems or creating societal opportunities; attending to the institutions as contexts for these governing interactions; and establishing a normative foundation for all those activities.”
Kooiman thereby puts emphasis on the role played by institutions and norms in collective action and the governance of societies. Finally, the Dutch school explains that governance encompasses all types of steering mechanisms which are related to the public policy processes but which may include public or private actors (Kjaer 2004: 41).
Despite the clear overlap of these definitions, there exist profound disagreements. Within this single sub-field, governance has been used in various ways to refer to administrative processes, administrative philosophies, organizational structures, a socio-cybernetic system and managerial judgement amongst others (Lynn, Heinrich & Hill 2001; Frederickson 2007: 285; Rhodes 2003: 47-52). Being an imprecise, broad and wooly concept without an agreed-upon meaning, governance has been much criticised (Frederickson 2007: 289). In an effort to bring greater conceptual clarity, Rhodes (2003: 53) has mapped out four constitutive elements shared by most definitions: (1) the interdependence between organisations which challenges public/private and formal/informal boundaries; (2) on-going interaction in a network to exchange and share resources/knowledge; (3) rules of the game governing interaction; and (4) significant autonomy from the state. On his side, George Frederickson has tried, with limited success, to draw on international regime theory to construct a well-defined, practical and usable definition of governance (Frederickson 2007).
The concept of governance as developed in public administration and policy was taken up by scholars of the European Union to explain the integration process whereby state units were slowly being sub-summed within a supra-national organisation. Governance as steering involving state and non-state actors in the pursuit of collective goals led to the emergence of two specific approaches to governance as applied to the European Union (Kjaer 2004: 108). On the one hand, ‘multi-level governance’ describes the policy process which is no longer the sole concern of states but the result of coordination between regions, states and the EU within horizontal ‘policy networks’ spanning three levels – i.e., sub-national, national and supra-national actors (Rhodes 1996; 1997). On the other hand, ‘European governance’ emphasises the combination of non-hierarchical network policy-making together with top-down state steering. In any case, the definitions of governance adopted within public administration and policy and European Studies are mostly focused on policy-making within formal institutional settings – with the partial exception of Adrienne Héritier’s work on new modes of governance (Héritier 2002).
It is important to note that in public administration and European studies, governance is used both as an analytical and a normative term. Far from being value-neutral, the term is loaded with liberal assumptions which are taken for granted. Frederickson (2007: 289) explains that various perspectives on governance tend “to wrap together anti-bureaucratic and anti-government sentiments, preferences for markets over governments, and preferences for limited government – all points-of-view masked as given, understood, and agreed-upon.” As a new theoretical lens through which to analyse global transformations, governance tends to assume a reformist agenda towards better coordination, better public management and better synergy between market forces and governments. Decentralisation, privatisation and liberalisation are seen as positive forces towards more efficient governance. Knowing that governance transcends formal institutions, this lack of value-neutrality is not without implications for the legitimacy of the governing mechanisms that are put in place. The lack of democratic participation, popular consent, representativeness and constitutionality are challenging the sources of legitimacy commonly accepted within most communities. This issue has been much debated within the context of the European Union (Kjaer 2004: 116-122).
Within international relations, interest in governance has sprung from the need to understand globalising forces and the rise of non-state actors (i.e., the market, global civil society, transnational networks, regional organisations, the mass media, the internet) as potential challengers to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and monopoly over the use of violence of states. When scholars in the field of international relations have taken governance seriously without dismissing it out of hand, they have adapted the concept to describe global phenomena which transcend states, formal institutions and public policy making (Wilkinson 2002: 1). They have used the concept to describe a variety of phenomena including the international regimes and institutions which have been set up to tackle the challenges resulting from globalisation. The Commission on Global Governance (1995: 2) explains that “[g]lobal governance has been viewed primarily as intergovernmental relationships, but it must now be understood as also involving non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Citizen’s movements, multinational corporations, and the global capital market.” The inclusion of economic activities within the framework of governance is not unanimous amongst international relations scholars and the focus is often put on politics by governments. The Club of Rome explains that
“Taken broadly, the concept of governance should not be restricted to the national and international systems but should be used in relation to regional, provincial and local governments as well as to other social systems such as education and the military, to private enterprises and even to the microcosm of the family” (King and Schneider 1991: 181-182).
They thereby extend the scope of governance to include any “command mechanism of a social system and its actions that endeavour to provide security, prosperity, coherence, order and continuity to the system” (King and Schneider 1991: 181-182). This definition enables the study of the local-global interplay between formal and informal actors which sustain a certain order independently from states. In this regard, the Commission on Global Governance (1995: 2) argues that governance is
“the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operative action may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interest.”
At the international level, this will include the relations between governments to regulate trade or nuclear proliferation. But at the local level, governance may refer to any institutions or arrangements to manage common affairs and may include “a neighbourhood co-operative formed to install and maintain a standing water pipe” or “a regional initiative of state agencies, industrial groups, and residents to control deforestation” (Commission on Global Governance 1995: 2).
In a similar vein, Rosenau (1999: 13) explains that global governance refers to “systems of rule at all levels of human activity – from the family to the international organization – in which the pursuit of goals through the exercise of control has transnational repercussions.” Thus for Rosenau the concept of governance is made of four constitutive components which include (1) systems of rule or steering mechanisms which support and constrain socio-political interaction (norms, expectations, rules, behaviours, legitimacy, shared standards, etc.) and “enable systems to preserve their coherence and move towards desired goals” (Rosenau 2002: 72), (2) interconnected levels of activity from the global level to the household, (3) purposive and goal-oriented activities and (4) transnational effects (Gingwerth & Pattberg 2006: 190). Contrary to state-centric understandings of governance as limited to policy-making and public management, global governance encompasses the activities of all actors “who resort to command mechanisms to make demands, frame goals, issue directives, and pursue policies” and thereby accords equal importance to NGOs, transnational business actors, inter-governmental organisations, the media, civil society groups, social movements, hybrid public-private organisations, the mafia, private armies, etc. (Rosenau 1997: 145). It includes hierarchical and formal modes of steering but also non-hierarchical steering based on incentives, sanctions or moral legitimacy (Risse 2006).
For Rosenau (2002: 72), the command mechanisms which sustain governance may be formal (constitutions, bylaws and other formal instruments), customary (repeated practices which have become authoritative, traditional norms) or ideational and non-material factors such as “[t]he evolution of intersubjective consensuses based on shared fates and common histories, the possession of information and knowledge, the pressure of active or mobilizable publics, and/or the use of careful planning, good timing, clever manipulation and hard bargaining (Rosenau 1997: 147). In this regard, Rosenau (1997: 151) concludes that global governance is not a single organising principle but “the sum of a myriad – literally millions – of control mechanisms driven by different histories, goals, structures and processes.” Perspectives which focus solely on states often imply that power and authority are centralised when in practice there are numerous interconnected centres which form a complex architecture of governance – a “ramshackle assembly of conflicting sources of authority” in Susan Strange’s words (1996: 199; see also Stocker 1998: 19). From a unidirectional and top-down pattern of government, governance is thus shifting attention to the multi-dimensional interaction of actors involved in collective action as well as the multi-level inter-linkages between the global, regional, national, domestic and family spheres. In particular, it enables the exploration of new solutions to global issues “without neglecting the differentiated needs and capabilities of highly distinct local communities” (Gingwerth & Pattberg 2006: 192).
Rosenau’s approach to global governance is not shared by all scholars in International relations. Realists and Neo-Realist, when they pay attention to governance, will rather analyse the concept in terms of the prolongation of state power beyond territorial borders. According to them, governments remain the primary actors in geo-politics and their actions very much shape the processes of governance (Held & McGrew 2002: 12). Any type of governance with or without states is ultimately contingent on the policies and interests of states and international organisations and regimes are mostly instruments used by states in the pursuit of power. Governance may even be understood as the extension of the hegemony of powerful states such as the United States. Ultimately, Realism’s assumption that the world order is anarchic contradicts the very idea of governance (Gilpin 2002: 238). Power politics being unavoidable, it is “far wiser to rely on a balance of power among states in a decentralized international system” than to put hope in governance (Gilpin 2002: 247). Marxists and Neo-Gramscians share with Realists a view of governance as being shaped by the interests of powerful states. In particular, they explain that governance must be related to the structures of global capitalism and to the expansion of global corporate power. Governance is the continuation of conflicts driving global capitalism and results in the exploitation of certain communities as well as the environment (Callinicos 2002).
Pluralists like Hedley Bull or Richard Jackson will acknowledge the existence of an international society of states with its norms and rules but will reject any type of governance which could potentially undermine the political independence and freedom of states. Governance as a political or normative project which homogenises the world is seen as a threat to international peace and security. This is why leading Pluralists reject the tromping of norms of sovereignty in favour of human rights or human security as the Commission on Global Governance recommended (1995: 132) since this would lead to international disorder (Jackson 2000). Contrary to Pluralists, Solidarists will point to the factual existence of governance which has led to greater socio-political integration as well as to the emergence of norms of which should - and in any case already do - transcend norms of non-interference (Wheeler 2000). In this, they agree with Liberal Institutionalists who hold that governance is a matter of fact. Being in the interest of states, governance processes have spread to coordinate global policy-making and to mitigate the effects of state power. As McGrew (2002: 268) argues, “it is only through the governance or transcendence of power politics that the necessary conditions for the promotion and realization of human freedom can be effectively achieved.” In an interdependent world, international institutions provide important functional benefits and “empower governments rather than shackle them” (Keohane in Held & McGrew 2002: 12). Governance is thus seen as a source of order and peace and is to be valued as a normative ambition. Within international relations, comparatively little attention has been given to governance per se. Noting the plurality of views and the broad disagreements on the subject, Rosenau’s take on governance remains the most thorough and convincing attempt at developing the concept within the field.
Within international relations, governance is also freighted with values and assumptions. In the report of the Commission on Global Governance (1995), a global civic ethic is deemed necessary to guide action and leadership. Based on various values such as liberty and democracy, this ethics has concrete implications for security, global integration, economic interdependence and the role of the United Nations. Global governance becomes a political programme “in the midst of a discursive struggle about who decides what for whom” (Dingwerth & Pattberg 2006: 196). According to some, global governance is the expression of a broad political trend to address the negative consequences of neo-liberal deregulation (Dingwerth & Pattberg 2006: 196).
The values implicit in governance often reflect the assumptions and moral commitments of each theoretical tradition. Realists will be critical of the liberal ideals embedded in governance and will warn against a utopian project which ignores the hard reality. Marxists will rather be critical of the neo-liberal programme of a market-driven governance which leads to exclusion and greater inequalities. Liberals are critical of the distortion of governance by the most powerful states. Overall, the literature which deals explicitly with the normative dimension of governance promotes the democratisation of global governance in order to bring all actors under democratic oversight (Pogge 1997; McGrew 2002; Held 1995; 2002) as well as global social justice (Pogge 2001).
Good Governance and the World Bank
Development, peace and governance are closely connected and since the second half of the 20th century, the development community has attempted to explain the success and failure of various initiatives in the Third World. The World Bank (1989) introduced the concept of ‘good governance’ to explain the lack of development of certain countries despite their neo-liberal structural adjustment programmes. Corruption, nepotism, patrimonialism and the lack of efficiency of the public sector were blamed for bad governance and a shift was hence operated to foster good governance through transparency, accountability and democratic elections on the Anglo-American model. Over the last 20 years, the World Bank has played a key role in the debate over governance both at the conceptual and at the practical levels. The international organisation’s use of governance has evolved, thereby reflecting a broader shift in their understanding of development.
In Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth, the World Bank (1989: 60) defined governance as simply “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development.” This definition was thus used to frame a 1992 report entitled Governance and Development. This focus on economics was criticised by Engel and Olsen (2005: 3) as leading to the de-politicisation of governance through a one-sided focus on public sector management accountability and transparency. Indeed, based on an instrumentalist and functionalist view of the state the Bank boils down governance to a set of reforms towards efficiency rather than the highly contested and political process that it is.
In Can Africa Claim the 21st Century?, the World Bank (2000: 48) developed its definition of governance and defined the concept as “the institutional capacity of public organizations to provide the public and other goods demanded by a country’s citizens or their representatives in an effective, transparent, impartial, and accountable manner, subject to resource constraints.” In another report published the same year, the Bank further developed the definition and outlined three particular areas of concern. Governance is defined
“as the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised for the common good. This includes (i) the process by which those in authority are selected, monitored and replaced, (ii) the capacity of the government to effectively manage its resources and implement sound policies, and (iii) the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them.” (World Bank in Engel and Olsen 2005: 3).
This definition has influenced policy guidelines to include public sector reform through privatisation, the development of a legal framework for the rule of law but also to attract foreign investment, institutional and governmental accountability and transparency through free media. From its earlier focus on economics, this recent shift towards political activities is not without problems in terms of legitimacy or democratic deficit and calls for a better understanding of the ‘external factor’ regarding intervention at the core of domestic politics (Doornbos 1995). Over the last decade, it seems that governance has lost importance for the World Bank (Kjaer 2004: 175). The successes of good governance activities are mixed and monitoring has been difficult. Aid does not easily foster good governance but good governance makes aid more effective. As such, there seems to have been a shift from promoting good governance to demanding it as a precondition to the delivery of aid (Kjaer 2004: 175).
In its efforts to promote good governance, the World Bank has developed criteria to measure the quality of governance. Using six indicators: Voice and Accountability; Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism; Government Effectiveness; Regulatory Quality; Rule of Law; and Control of Corruption, the World Bank has developed an aggregated measurement of hundreds of individual variables to evaluate the quality of governance in individual countries (Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi 2009: 2). Another attempt at measuring governance has been made by the UN University through its World Governance Survey. By asking a set of 30 questions to 35 knowledgeable participants for each country, they have attempted to study the evolution of governance throughout time in a comparative perspective. This subjective measure has its use but its reliability is open to criticism (Kjaer 2004: 170).
Additional Perspectives on Governance
Besides the debates in public administration and public policy, European studies, international relations and the development community, governance has also been analysed by scholars of comparative politics in an attempt to understand the interplay between economic and political development or democratisation. However, their conceptual contributions are limited and will not be explored in any length. Before we move on to the next section, we are going to consider two further definitions of governance. Hyden (1999: 185) defines governance as “the stewardship of formal and informal political rules of the game. Governance refers to those measures that involve setting the rules for the exercise of power and settling conflicts over such rules.” This definition is significant because of the shift it operates away from policy networks or the formal state apparatus. It is broadly representative of Hyden’s wish to move the debate over development away from standardised and narrowly conceived poverty reduction measures to wider processes of societal progress (Hyden 1980). The second definition is given by Czempiel and is of special interest because it offers to study the governance of specific events or systems. Czempiel (1992: 250) states:
“I understand ‘governance’ to mean the capacity to get things done without the legal competence to command that they be done. Where governments, in the Eastonian sense, can distribute values authoritatively, governance can distribute them in a way which is not authoritative but equally effective. Governments exercise rule, governance uses power. From this point of view the international system is a system of governance. Conflicts are systems of governance with each party trying to induce, or to force, the other party to do certain things it otherwise would not have done.”
For Czempiel, to study a conflict as a system of governance is an opportunity to go beyond a purely realist understanding of war as a power game based on material resources, military might and a security dilemma. Indeed, Czempiel (1992: 270) argues that such a view of conflicts as “confined to the security issue-arena means to use an outmoded model of the world as a world of states…To understand modern conflicts as systems of governance is to grasp the growing importance of societies and the degree of interdependence between them.” Additional analytical dimension of the concept of governance exist in disciplines others than political science or international relations. For example, Draude (2007: 5) explains that economists put special emphasis on market forces and unintended processes of market regulation within their definition of governance while sociologists may include any type of ‘social structures of order.’ Rhodes (2007: 1246) explains that the various uses of the term across disciplines “have little or nothing in common”.
The various definitions of governance outlined so far illustrate scholarly disagreement over the relation between governance and state government with at one hand of the continuum scholars defending a view of governance as the formal governing process and on the other hand scholars broadening governance to encompass ‘new modes of governance’ with the inclusion of non-state actors and an emphasis on non-hierarchical and ideational modes of steering – or ‘soft steering’ (Risse & Lehmkuhl 2006). While the variety of positions is often linked to disciplinary boundaries and research agenda, they are nevertheless representative of divergences over the scope of governance. This continuum differentiates governance by governments, governance with governments through networks of state and non-state actors and governance without government based on the coordination of civil society and non-state actors (Zürn 2002; Czempiel & Rosenau 1992). Rosenau (2002: 81) developed a typology to represent the various types of governance. Well aware of the difficulty of developing a parsimonious classification which would properly account for governance without government, he framed his typology depending on the structures (formal, informal or mixed) and processes (unidirectional or multidirectional) of governance.
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In the field of public administration and public policy, this same typology exists and Frederickson (2007: 300-301) differentiates between (1) inter-jurisdictional governance which encompasses those “policy-area formalized or voluntary patterns of interorganizational or interjurisdictional cooperation;” (2) third party-governance whereby the state delegates and subcontracts some of its functions to third parties; and (3) public nongovernmental governance which includes all the activities of NGOs that influence the common good.
The debate over terminology and the scope of the concept has been ongoing for many decades but despite the different approaches and perspectives there exists a shared understanding that a new theoretical lens is needed to fully understand the challenges that domestic, regional and international societies face because of globalising processes and socio-political transformations. Various attempts have been made to summarise the main elements of governance as used throughout the literature. But even those do not neatly overlap. Jessop (1998: 29) explains that generally-speaking ‘governance’ has two meanings:
“First, governance can refer to any mode of co-ordination of interdependent activities…The second, more restricted meaning, is heterarchy (or self-organization)…Its forms include self-organizing interpersonal networks, negotiated inter-organizational co-ordination, and de-centres, context-mediated inter-systemic steering”.
For Jessop, this heterarchy is the result of the inability of all systems and institutional orders to adopt the same operational logic. Peters and Pierre (1998) see the governance debate as revolving around four transformations which include (1) the importance of networks in public policy, (2) the state’s capacity to exercise independent control is slowly shifting towards a power to influence other organisations of the network, (3) the blending of public and private resources, and (4) the use of multiple instruments to make and implement policies. Being interested in public management, their focus on governance remains centred on the state apparatus and policy-making process. However, some scholars are critical of this undue focus on the state and prefer to point to the increasing autonomy of governance from formal institutions (Rhodes 2003: 53). Finally, Adrienne Héritier (2002: 285) contends that
“In the literature the concept of governance is used in two different ways: one broad, the other more restricted. In the encompassing sense it implies every mode of political steering involving public and private actors, including the traditional modes of government and different types of steering from hierarchical imposition to sheer information measures. In the restricted sense it only comprises types of political steering in which non-hierarchical modes of guidance, such as persuasion and negotiation, are employed, and/or public and private actors are engaged in policy formulation.”
While all the above attempts to list the core features of governance are not in full agreement, most of the differences are the result of disciplinary concerns and boundaries. Guy Peters focuses on public administration and public policy, Adrienne Héritier is concerned with regulation and governance in the European Union, Rod Rhodes studies the governance of public administration and policy and Bob Jessop researches state theory, political economy and governance in British politics. This is the reason why some of them focus specifically on the policy process and the role of the state while Rosenau (international relations) will be more inclined to transcend the confines of the state. But all of these scholars would seem to agree that governance refers to a new process of governing which sees various modes of hierarchical and non-hierarchical steering interact in the setting of systems of rules and the co-ordination of inter-dependent activities with a view to solving global, transnational and societal problems. Some scholars will analyse this new method of governing within the frame of policy-making while others will look at their existence independently from any state authority; Rhodes will focus on inter-governmental networks while Rosenau will look at transnational networks.
Scholarship on governance and global governance has expanded rapidly to pervade the discourse of policy makers and international organisations. Notions of good governance, good enough governance, humane governance, fair governance or ungovernance, amongst others, have slowly become part of policy and practitioner language in the fields of security and development. However, as the governance agenda developed, critical voices emerged to question the concept and its applications. In this regard, Neumann and Sending (2006) have focused on the shift from governance to governmentality arguing that what we are seeing is not so much the dislodging of political authority away from the state and towards non-state transnational actors as an expression of a changing logic of government which turns the civil society into both the object and the subject of government. The authors believe that a shift towards governmentality would enable us to truly explore the nature of governance as a process without relying on a statist perspective.
Within international relations, numerous scholars have been critical regarding the utility of the concept of global governance. While they do not necessarily contest the effective transformation of world politics and the role played by non-state actors, they believe that the state remains central to the international system and that as such a new theoretical lens is not necessary. Robert Gilpin agrees that “the governance issue [is at] the top of the international economic agenda…the battleground has become the entire globe, and the types as well as the number of participants have greatly expanded to include states, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations” (in Held and McGrew 2002: 11). However, Gilpin (2002) and other Realists deny that global governance mechanisms can be autonomous from states or that international organisations and transnational civil society are autonomous. For them, state-centrism is necessary and governance without government impossible.
The issue of governance’s state-centric assumptions has also been taken up by other scholars and has been developed into a full-fledged critique of the concept. In this regard, the issue of the ‘shadow of state hierarchy’ as a warrant for effective governance must be discussed. When an increasing number of scholars turned their attention away from formal government to governance in the 1990s, they wondered to what extent the state was being hollowed out and whether it would retain its central position in international relations. Susan Strange (1996) theorised the ‘retreat’ of the state and Ali Khan (1996) went as far as to bring up a potential ‘extinction’ of states as we know them. However, within the governance debate attention has not so much been focused on the demise of the state as on a transformation of the state’s function “from centre of steering to coordination body” (Mayntz 2004: 75; Kooiman 1999: 16-17). Pierre and Peters (2000: 78) challenge the decline of the state and point to examples where governance has increased state control while Newman (2005) looks at its growing power and Marsh et al. (2003: 327) at its growing autonomy. Unable to govern societal affairs on its own, the state “has begun to need the material and non-material cooperation of those affected” including non-state actors such as civil society groups (Rhodes 1997; Kooiman 1999). Unable to act unilaterally to provide common goods, the state has handed over certain powers to other actors of the network and has adopted a position of self-restraint vis-à-vis its partners. However, the resulting hybrid forms of interaction and coordination described depend ultimately upon a certain authority to ensure the binding-nature of decisions that are made. Because non-state actors are not formally established to ensure the provision of common goods, they may be reluctant to share the cost when the objectives are not fully in line with their interest. As such, Börzel (2010: 11-12) explains, “it may take the threat of a hierarchically imposed decision in order to change the cost-benefit calculations in favour of a voluntary agreement closer to the common good rather than particularistic self-interest.” It is in this context that the state – or more precisely “the shadow of [state] hierarchy” – is reintroduced in the debate as “a major condition for the emergence and effectiveness of governance with and without government” (Scharpf in Jessop 1998: 43; Börzel 2010: 5).
This reliance on the shadow of hierarchy is not without problems in certain cases. Indeed, while it is true that in Western states the clout of the law and of the executive powers is implicit in the effective functioning of most governance coordination, this is not universal. Even within Western states there exist informal governance mechanisms which do not depend on the threat of government intervention (i.e., illegal transnational networks, lawless suburbs or geographically remote areas outside the reach of the central government, etc.). Draude (2007:7) argues that “[t]he explicit focus on the role of the state in regulation processes, as well as the implicit presence of the state in the observation pattern state/society become a problem by definition when attempts are made to apply governance theory to other cultural areas of limited statehood.” Indeed, in weak states, failing states, newly industrialised countries or colonies, the effectiveness of governance may not be guaranteed by state institutions (Risse & Lehmkuhl 2006; Börzel 2010). Likewise, the public/private and formal/informal distinctions made within most governance scholarship may not be applicable and may even ignore the existence of hybrid forms as illustrated in studies on clientelism, patrimonialism and corruption (Brinkerhoff & Goldsmith 2004; Engel & Olsen 2005: 7-8). The Western-centric assumptions embedded within the shadow of state hierarchy and analytical dichotomies between formal/informal, public/private and state/non-state sectors have now been taken up within African scholarship on the subject despite being drawn from European experience and having a limited applicability in local contexts (Engel & Olsen 2005: 6). Risse & Lehmkuhl (2006: 4) have noted that besides being inapplicable in two thirds of the states, this view of governance may also engender theoretical, political and practical problems.
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