Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance
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Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance

Self-organization and Participation in Public Governance

Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

In many countries, government and society have undergone a major shift in recent years, now tending toward ‘smaller government’ and ‘bigger society’. This development has lent increased meaning to the notion of interactive governance, a concept that this book takes not as a normative ideal but as an empirical phenomenon that needs constant critical scrutiny, reflection and embedding in modern societies.
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Chapter 18: Joint fact-finding: an approach for advancing interactive governance when scientific and technical information is in question

Todd Schenk, Ellen Czaika, Danya Rumore and Michal Russo


Schenk, Czaika, Rumore and Russo start their contribution by arguing that interactive governance processes often require the use of contentious and ambiguous scientific and technical information. Parties with divergent knowledge-claims and interests are more likely to reach stable and equitable agreements if they arrive at a shared understanding of the credibility, legitimacy and relevance of that information. Joint Fact Finding (JFF) is an interactive governance approach that brings stakeholders together to collectively define what information is needed for decision-making, how that information ought to be collected, and who ought to collect it. Through doing so, JFF can help involved parties to devise a shared fact pattern and reach agreement about what is known and what remains uncertain. In this chapter Schenk et al. introduce the JFF process and discuss how the approach may be understood via the instrumental, cultural and democratic perspectives on interactive governance. It then provides examples of JFF in the USA to illustrate how the process works and how it can contribute to interactive governance.

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