Elgar original reference
Edited by Thomas Christiansen and Christine Neuhold
Thomas Christiansen and Christine Neuhold THE RATIONALE FOR THIS BOOK Traditionally, much of the focus of the study of politics has focused on formal arrangements and formal institutions, and on the official legislative or implementing acts and decisions that arise from their work. This is even more true for the study of law with its explicit concern with formally binding rules and official sanctions. However, in recent years, the dominant focus on formal institutions, rules and procedures has given way to an increasing concern with informal aspects of politics. This is due in part to a conceptual shift in political science, with a greater attention of scholars devoted to the wider phenomenon of ‘governance’ rather than being occupied, more narrowly, with government. The ‘governance turn’ is concerned with precisely those aspects of policy-making that cut across the divide between public and private, that involve non-state actors as well as public office-holders and that lead to non-binding arrangements, voluntary agreements and other kinds of ‘soft law’, or that revolve around the coordination of actions from a range of different actors (Hooghe and Marks 2001; Bache and Flinders 2004; Borrás and Greve 2004; KohlerKoch and Rittberger 2006). The focus on governance by definition pushes scholars to pay greater attention to the non-formal aspects of politics, and this has coincided with a second development, namely the rising number of empirical studies on the informal dimension of politics, and in an expanding number of fields this has provided interesting research, raising both new...