Table of Contents

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.

Chapter 6: Democratic theory

Andreas Klinke

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


Democratic theories have illuminated and infused various governance approaches. But, contemporaneously, governance is also challenging traditional democratic culture and practices. Scholars worldwide are grappling with the question of how new governance has instantiated democratic features and mechanisms. They are also attempting to expound the theoretical sources and ways in which democratic features shape what is the specific character of distinct forms of new governance. This chapter pays particular attention to what the different strands of democratic theory imply for the study of governance by focusing on the identification and distinction of how normative and empirical-analytical theories of democracy inspire contemporary governance, and how cardinal democratic ideas and values – inclusion, self-determination and the formation of public opinion and political will – elucidate both broad and narrow meanings of governance concepts and practices from the perspectives of various democratic theories.

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