Handbook on Theories of Governance
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Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.
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Chapter 21: Risk

Ortwin Renn and Andreas Klinke


The term “governance” has been used in political science to describe the multitude of actors and processes that lead to collective binding decisions. The term “risk governance” involves the translation of the substance and core principles of governance to the context of risk-related decision-making. Risk governance pertains to the various ways in which many actors, individuals and institutions, public and private, deal with risks and provides a conceptual as well as normative basis for how to deal responsibly with uncertain, complex and/or ambiguous risks in particular. The chapter synthesizes the body of scholarly ideas and proposals on the governance of systemic risks in a set of management regimes: the combination of risk-based, precautionary and discourse-based management regimes. This set of regimes should be read as a synthesis of what needs to be seriously considered in organizing structures and processes to govern risks.

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