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 40: Multi-level governance

Ian Bache, Ian Bartle and Matthew Flinders


This chapter considers the origins, development and key debates in multi-level governance (MLG). It argues that despite evolving as a core concept within and beyond academe MLG remains an under-developed concept. To some degree this reflects the increasingly fluid governance processes it seeks to acknowledge and interrogate, but also points to the need for greater precision and rigour in the different types of MLG that combine in complex webs of modern governance. In particular we raise questions about the suitability for the analysis of contemporary governance of a binary formulation that has arisen to conceptualize different types of MLG. We see much overlapping, interconnection and blurring of the lines dividing the two types. A finer grain is required within each of the two types and between and beyond them in order to conceptualize variety and interconnectedness.

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