Government, Governance and Welfare Reform

Government, Governance and Welfare Reform

Structural Changes and Subsidiarity in Italy and Britain

Edited by Alberto Brugnoli and Alessandro Colombo

This unique and original book focuses on institutional changes, welfare reforms and transformations in both Britain and Italy over the last three decades.

Chapter 1: Key principles of governance

Alberto Martinelli

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, welfare states, urban and regional studies, regional studies


The term ‘governance’, along with associated descriptives such as ‘democratic’, ‘global’, ‘multilevel’, ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’, is becoming a catch-all word, much like globalization. It is used by scholars of many different fields such as legal experts (as in corporate governance), sociologists who follow urban affairs, political scientists studying the European Union and scholars of global politics. In the last ten years, the number of scientific articles quoted in the Social Science Citation Index on governance in general and on European governance in particular has increased sevenfold. And use of the term is even more frequent in the non specialized literature of the mass media. This inflationary usage risks confusion and may render the term nearly meaningless. And yet, in spite of the so-called ‘demo-sceptics’ like Crouch (2004) and Wolin (2006), who argue that contemporary governance is more ‘postdemocratic’ than ‘multilevel’, I agree with the many scholars who consider it a useful concept, and I will make it the object of my contribution.

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