The Challenge to Local Governance under Rapid Coastal Urbanization
Chapter 5: Human Security and Governance
5. Human security and governance INTRODUCTION The rising popularity of concepts such as governance and human security is concurrent with the retreat of the state from some basic spheres of public life. The concept of governance builds upon the classical model of ‘checks and balances’ between the three powers of the state (judicial, legislative and executive), and extends it to include markets and civil society. Thus, in effect, governance suggests the empowering of private and special interests over the state. As discussed in Chapter 6, this redistribution of powers does not necessarily mean the deepening of democracy in the sense of a more equitable distribution of power. In fact, it may lead to the creation of strong coalitions between government and private sectors that are capable of exerting hegemonic forms of rule and governmentality, far more effective and encompassing than those traditionally achieved by the state alone. This is particularly so in contexts such as the Mexican Caribbean, in which civil society is relatively underdeveloped and thus unable to counterbalance the monopoly of power attained by the government–business coalition, or ‘historic bloc’ in Gramsci’s (1971) sense. Similar to governance, human security de-emphasizes the monopoly of the state as the fundamental guarantor of security and shifts attention from the security of, and by, the state to the provision of security by markets and civil society. Human security was originally focused on governments and markets, as illustrated by the catchphrase ‘freedom from fear and want’ (UNDP, 1994). The concept was initially...
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