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 22: Steering

Renate Mayntz

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


The theoretical model of “steering” was first developed in German political science, and underwent important modifications over time. Initially focused on the state as agent, or subject of steering, in a first expansion of the paradigm the object of steering and its compliance with or resistance to a policy came to be included. In a second expansion of the theoretical model, non-state actors were included as steering subjects; thus “governance” came to replace “steering.” This shift was accompanied by an empirically based theoretical critique of the earlier steering model’s selective approach.

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