The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance
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The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance

Edited by Andrew Massey and Karen Johnston

The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance is a ground-breaking volume with eminent scholars addressing the key questions in relation to how international governments can solve public administration and governance challenges in an increasingly globalized world. With international coverage across Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America, the authors adopt contemporary perspectives of governance, including public policy capacity, wicked policy problems, public sector reforms, the challenges of globalisation and managing complexity. Practitioners and scholars of public administration, public policy and public sector management will be better informed with regard to the issues and structures of government and governance in an increasingly complex world.
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Chapter 2: Governance: a typology and some challenges

Geert Bouckaert


‘Governance’ as a word does not travel well between languages. In several non-English languages the English word is used for convenience. This probably proves that the concept of ‘governance’ is culturally defined. This is even more the case if the qualification ‘good’ is added. ‘Good governance’ is supposed to be opposed to ‘bad governance’, just as in Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government fresco in Siena’s town hall that he painted between 1337 and 1339 (Drechsler, 2001). Governance is therefore not only a scientific and descriptive term, but can also be a normative concept. Governance also emerges in the scientific community in different ways as an agenda. Conference themes are labeled under this umbrella (ASPA 2013: Governance & Sustainability: Local concerns, Global challenges; IPSA/AISP 2014: Challenges of Contemporary Governance), master’s degrees are relabeled, institutes are (re)named (KU Leuven Public Governance Institute, Leuven, Belgium; Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany), and journals are created around this concept (Governance). ‘Governance’ becomes a general and generic thought frame with a functional ambiguity, perhaps even with a ‘flou academique’ (academic fog), or it becomes a ‘magic’ concept (Pollitt and Hupe, 2011). This chapter is about a typology of ‘governances’ defined as a ‘span of governance’ that immediately affects definitions and content, but also reform projects, their measurement and assessment.

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