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 3: Governance and subsidiarity

Lorenzo Ornaghi

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


In this chapter, I shall attempt to demonstrate for what reason and through which analytical route subsidiarity cannot be correctly seen merely as a contingent or auxiliary element of governance; rather, it must be understood and analysed as a fundamental characteristic of a governance capable of providing some of the answers that both scholars and practitioners of government have long (and with remarkably scant success) been seeking. To foreshadow the conclusion of my argument, this ultimately means that governance without subsidiarity is not genuine governance, and in particular it does not constitute ‘political’ governance. The origins, characteristics and main advantages of the concept of governance First, it would be appropriate to provide the reader with a number of clarifications of the phrase ‘political governance’. As a first approximation, the origins of this expression – and thus the analytical path to a satisfactory definition – can be located in the observed mutual contamination of social spaces which have traditionally been conceptualized as distinct and indeed often mutually opposed.

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