Handbook on Multi-level Governance
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Handbook on Multi-level Governance

Edited by Henrik Enderlein, Sonja Wälti and Michael Zürn

Scholarship of multi-level governance has developed into one of the most innovative themes of research in political science and public policy. This accessible Handbook presents a thorough review of the wide-ranging literature, encompassing various theoretical and conceptual approaches to multi-level governance and their application to policy-making in domestic, regional and global contexts.
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Chapter 9: Multi-level Governance and Organized Interests

Anke Hassel


Anke Hassel1 9.1 INTRODUCTION Organized interests are an integral part of modern policy making. Private actors, corporate and collective, not only lobby for their interests but have also taken on much bigger roles as experts, administrators and facilitators of public goods, as well as private regulators. The shift of the debate from ‘government’ to ‘governance’ was partly induced by the increasing importance of private actors in policy making. Organized interests are therefore located at and have gained access to all levels of governance regimes. This, however, has not diminished the role of the state in governance. As Theda Skocpol points out in the opening chapter of the edited volume ‘Bringing the state back in’, political theory in the 1970s was heavily dominated by approaches which prioritized socio-economic forces to explain politics at the expense of the autonomy and capacity of states and their agencies (Skocpol 1985). This has led to a resurgence of academic interest in state activities and the autonomy and capacity of the state to pursue its own agenda independent of socio-economic interests. The reorientation in the political science literature over the last three decades thus has less to do with a rebalancing of private versus public or society versus state but more with a shift of focus from structures and amorphous socio-economic (capitalist) interests to specific actors and processes. The more recent political science approaches seek to reconcile and thereby redefine the relationship between society, business and the state by balancing autonomous state action and the pursuit...

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