Combating Poverty in Europe
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Combating Poverty in Europe

Active Inclusion in a Multi-Level and Multi-Actor Context

Edited by Rune Halvorsen and Bjørn Hvinden

Discovering methods to combat poverty and social exclusion has now become a major political challenge in Europe. This book offers an original and timely analysis of how actors at the European, national and subnational levels meet this challenge. Combining perspectives on multilevel and network coordination, the editors discuss to what extent actors join forces in these efforts and identify the factors limiting the coordination achieved in practice. The book builds on a European study comparing Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the UK.
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Chapter 9: Mixing multi-level and network governance: how do local actors relate to the policies, steering mechanisms and resources of higher-level actors?

Håkan Johansson and Franca Maino


The shift from ‘government’ to ‘governance’ has attracted growing academic and political interest (e.g. Daly, 2003; Pierre and Peters, 2000; Newman, 2001, 2005; cf. Chapter 1). Economic globalization, the construction of an internal market within the European Union (EU) and labour mobility across borders have constrained the ability of national governments to make decisions and enforce them. This development – often referred to as a ‘hollowing out’ of the nation state (Kooiman, 2002) – suggests that authority flows away from traditional institutions of government. Supposedly, we see a flow ‘upwards’ in the sense that the importance of supranational decision-making and regulation has grown, and a flow ‘downwards’ in the sense that actors, decision-makers and authorities at regional and local levels have gained a more important role (Johansson et al., 2013). Issues of decentralization, re-scaling and localism are on the agenda, and some authors have even claimed that what we are witnessing is a new trend in welfare state development described as ‘austerity localism’ (Featherstone et al., 2012). At the same time, some scholars argue that current governance arrangements entail a wider set of actors than merely governmental agencies. According to Kazepov (2008, p. 248), the two main trends with regard to social policies are the reorganization of regulative powers at different territorial levels and the multiplication of actors involved in ‘designing, managing and implementing social policies’.

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