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 37: Collaborative governance

Alison Gash

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

Abstract

Collaborative governance has come to represent for many policy-makers, managers and community members an elixir to the “business-as-usual” approach to policy-making which privileges hierarchy and order over inclusion and innovation. Believers in and proponents of collaborative governance tout its flexibility, creativity and demand-driven orientation towards policy and program development, as well as its adherence to the values of deliberation and transparency. Despite a widespread belief in the power of collaboration to solve society’s ills, however, we know little about what collaborative governance is, how it works and whether it lives up to its promise. This chapter provides a summary of the salient questions and theories that frame both the study and the practice of collaborative governance. Through this review we can identify areas of agreement, contention and confusion about the use, risks and benefits of collaborative governance.

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