Critical Enquiry at the Intersection of Politics, Policy and Society
Edited by Emma Carmel
Chapter 2: Regimes of governing practices, socio-political order and contestation
In this chapter I theorise governance as regimes of governing practices that produce socio-political orders over time. Public policy that is produced in, and itself produces, governing practices may have a privileged role in such regimes and has significant implications for the production and reproduction of socio-political orders. To develop this argument, I interrogate key conceptualisations of state, statehood and governing, paying close attention to their emergence, unfolding and dynamic relationships over time. In particular, drawing on post-colonial and de-colonial understandings of the state, statehood and state practices, I argue that governing practices may be only loosely coupled to statehood, public policy and regulation. This conceptualisation of governance brings two aspects of governing that are usually treated separately into a unified field of vision: both the processes of governing and the goals of governing. In governance analysis, policymaking processes are analysed as aspects of the reproduction, contestation and transformation of socio-political order(s). At the same time, policy goals and purposes are examined as aspects of regimes of governing practices to explain how specific policies contribute to the reproduction of governing arrangements and power relations over time. This conceptualisation of governance also enables us to enrich and synthesise two major currents of contemporary thinking about the state and policymaking. We account both for the importance of discourse, meaning-making and semiosis, and also for how power materialises in institutions, objects and social interactions among socially embedded actors.
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