Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance
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Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance

Self-organization and Participation in Public Governance

Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

In many countries, government and society have undergone a major shift in recent years, now tending toward ‘smaller government’ and ‘bigger society’. This development has lent increased meaning to the notion of interactive governance, a concept that this book takes not as a normative ideal but as an empirical phenomenon that needs constant critical scrutiny, reflection and embedding in modern societies.
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Chapter 4: Interactive governance: a challenge to institutionalism

Henrik P. Bang


In his contribution Bang argues that governance analysis has exploded in recent years, and it has become nearly impossible to tell how the concept and practice of governance differs from the concepts and practice of government and state. In addition, governance analysis has been placed more and more in the shadow of the new institutionalisms and, most of all, of neoliberalism as the new way of the world. Bang constructs the argument that it has become part of the ‘institutional bricolage’ undertaken by strong strategic actors to acquire control over each other and to ‘nudge’ laypeople to make the right choices in order to make them functional for boosting competition and growth. However – as Bang continues his argument – interactive governance is not a property or effect of institutions, nor does it apply solely to those individuals who seek success above everything else. How then to bring laypeople back in? Bang reflects on the institutional developments behind this question and explores avenues in providing an answer.

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