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 7: Public law and regulatory theory

Shauhin Talesh

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


Increased involvement, delegation, and deference to non-state actors is probably the most important change to the regulatory state in the past three decades. This chapter explains the rise of governance in the context of public law as a shift from rulemaking by governmental institutions to rulemaking coming from private organizations and other civil actors. I highlight this evolution along three dimensions: prelude to governance, from government to governance, and beyond governance. I conclude by arguing that, while law remains necessarily a public function, the private role in the construction and meaning of regulation, compliance and law itself is more salient and celebrated than ever before.

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