Rethinking Theories of Governance


Rethinking Theories of Governance

9781789909180 Edward Elgar Publishing
Christopher Ansell, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, US
Publication Date: 2023 ISBN: 978 1 78990 918 0 Extent: 256 pp
Considering whether theories of governance are useful for helping policymakers to meet and tackle contemporary challenges, this insightful book reflects on how a theory becomes useful and evaluates a range of theories according to whether they are warranted, diagnostic, and dialogical.

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Are theories of governance useful for helping policymakers and citizens meet and tackle contemporary challenges? This insightful book reflects on how a theory becomes useful and evaluates a range of theories according to whether they are warranted, diagnostic, and dialogical.

By arguing that useful theory tells us what to ask, not what to do, Christopher Ansell investigates what it means for a theory to be useful. Analysing how governance theories address a variety of specific challenges, chapters examine intractable public problems, weak government accountability, violent conflict, global gridlock, poverty and the unsustainable exploitation of our natural resources. Finding significant tensions between state- and society-centric perspectives on governance, the book concludes with a suggestion that we refocus our theories of governance on possibilities for state-society synergy. Governance theories of the future, Ansell argues, should also strive for a more fruitful dialogue between instrumental, critical and explanatory perspectives.

Examining both the conceptual and empirical basis of theories of governance, this comprehensive book will be an invigorating read for scholars and students in the fields of public administration, public policy and planning, development studies, political science and urban, environmental and global governance. By linking theories of governance to concrete societal challenges, it will also be of use to policymakers and practitioners concerned with these fields.
Critical Acclaim
‘Governance is now the mainstream of public administration and political science, and Chris Ansell''s book combines theoretical insights and empirical findings to eloquently show why, what it is and what we have found so far in research about its effectiveness.’
– Erik Hans Klijn, Erasmus University, the Netherlands
Contents: Preface 1 Do governance theories rise to the challenge? 2 Addressing challenging public problems 3 Effective and accountable agencies: political conditions 4 Effective and accountable agencies: administrative conditions 5 Building effective and accountable governance 6 Enhancing democratic legitimacy and managing political conflict 7 Improving global cooperation and coordination 8 Reducing poverty and inequality 9 Managing the commons and transitioning to sustainability 10 Rethinking theories of governance References Index
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