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Governing as Governance by Jan Kooiman (ebook)
View Preview. Learn more Check out. Volume 85 , Issue 1 March Pages This is because groups, organizations and authorities are willing to share their activities for governance purposes and aim to do things together instead of doing them alone. Often, mutual interdependencies are mentioned as the main reason for such collaborative or co-operative interactions Idem.
The idea is that citizens should play a more direct role in public decision-making or at least engage more deeply with political issues.
Government officials should also be responsive to this kind of engagement. In practice, participatory governance can supplement the roles of citizens as voters or as watchdogs through more direct forms of involvement Gaventa, Hierarchical governance is embedded in interactions that are based on interventions. It ranges well beyond the kind of hierarchy associated with state sovereignty and bureaucracy. In modern society, hierarchy is supposed to be growing more active relying less on commands and more on regulations.
This development may be regarded as a response to increased complexity. At the state level, this shows the state as perfectly capable of giving with one hand and taking with the other. Kooiman also makes the effort to discuss some ethical elements in this book. Third-order or meta-governance is about self-designing systems that prescribes on how to govern. It is dedicated to normative governance issues, where the imaginary meta-governor attempts to formulate a set of norms or criteria with which to judge governance.
This is seen as a reaction to a declining capacity of the state to direct economic growth and social progress and to solve complex problems of modern societies. This is his response to the fact that public regulation and intervention are increasingly being shared with or partly delegated to private or non-governmental actors. This requires coordination between different actors, thus shifting the mode of governance from hierarchy to cooperation, from regulation to delegated self-regulation, from top-down political steering to horizontal coordination.
He contests the exclusive role of the state in providing common goods and shaping public order, whether within states or in the international realm. But we think that it will be unfair to accuse him for seeing the forest for the trees. Indeed, at times it would have been far better if more detailed and careful analysis have been provided for some of the myriad issues he throws about in his work.
But nothing is allowed more than two or three pages before a new discussion is introduced. Such a mapping exercise might be valuable if the sense of direction and signposting were clearer.
We get the impression that it is vast and there is a lot going on down there, but we have no idea of what to start looking at or how to do it. Still, the book might have been rescued from the nuggets if powerful new insights have emerged. He fails to present the clear distinctions between political, economic, social and administrative aspects of governance. The distinctions that are drawn are not particularly original or informative. The identification of the modes of governance in his book parallels those offered by Pierre and Peters in Governance, Politics and the State.
Incidentally, despite being published in his book, , he makes no reference to that book thus claiming originality of such concepts. Other distinctions of concepts are he makes are not profound.
Although Kooiman finds it impossible to point out one common denominator in alterations of governance, most changes in the policy network indicate an increase in the distance between government and the other network participants leading to a decrease in the unilateral steering by government, and hence an increase in the self governance of the network. So both within government and in the wider public sector network, the practical significance of self-governance is becoming increasingly important, although the real work of consolidation, operationalism and empirical validation has yet to begin.
Only the ouverture of the conceptual exploration has been sounded Idem. We are not convinced that the book works as a reference or review guide, either. The views and opinions of other authors like Ostrom are never really explored in depths. One gets the impression that Kooiman has read a lot, but his main purpose has been to bash and mold the insights of others into his own world view. For students seeking for a quick way to catch up on governance debate, this book is not the solution. It is not one of such popular and simplistic topics as Governance made Easy, Governance without Tears, etc.
The book is not the state of art review, although in fairness to the author, we suspect it was never intended to be that. The elements of governance images, instruments and action seem to be weakly presented in the book. One finds it difficult to assess the empirical and theoretical relevance of this book. It folds back on theory and practice on governing and governance as such. One gets the thrust of what he is saying which we think is that a concern with meta-governance is about the principles that underlie governance.
Nor do the grey boxes with little summary statements at the end of each chapter of how far we have gotten in the argument really help in the mastery of some of his concepts. The presentation of orders of governance clearly missed a more principled, ontological, epistemological and methodological discussion of why we should regard the interactive model as usable and valuable, not to say superior to other kinds of models of governance.
For Kooiman, meta-governance is the new order or the structural change. But the real structural change does not apply to specific concrete issues at stake but mostly exceeds them. The emergent new order exceeds the daily practice of policy making by far. It even exceeds the imagination of the real focaster since it is at the meta-level.
The meaning of meta-governance as presented by Kooiman is of course relative and utopic. Do the globalization, localization, and Europeanization of governance not go far beyond the boundaries of state, market and civil society? When politicized administrators turn their backs on their formal roles in parliament and the bureaucracy, do they not then form an entirely new governance arena distinct from state, market and civil society? This is probably why so many are beginning to speak of the information- risk or network society that involves new combinations of the social, economic and political arena, which are distinct from those of civil society, market and state in modern capitalist and industrialist societies.
These include governmentality and deliberative or discursive policy analysis. Kooiman clearly assesses policy from the vantage point of whether it helps people in society to voice their concerns and find representation for them. Policy-politics is about the construction and communication of policy values for the authoritative and timely delivery of societal goods. The focus is not so much on emancipating people from whatever is blocking their access and recognition to politics, but on using policy as both a medium and instrument for empowering people and enhancing the practice of their freedoms.
Governance analysis faces a big challenge when it comes to connecting these two different frameworks to one another. Government appears to be only an actor in a group of co-directing actors in societal networks. He fails to mention the limits and boundaries of governance. It is true that government is incompetent, so we need to develop a theory of governance that can handle complex networks. The top-down control from the central position does not answer questions of what form of governance it is, and what the essential features of this type of governance are.
The characteristics of good governance which emphasize transparency, accountability, participation, and the rule of law as mandatory administrative functions and conditions for successful public development policy UNDP, are clearly missing.
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After applying political anthropological methods, Poluha feels that governments believe they apply the concepts of good governance when executing their activities; however, cultural differences result in conflict with the standards of the international community Idem. One of the many possible criticisms against the previous considerations of control and complexity as presented by Kooiman is that it rather raises questions than it solves problems.
The introduction of a very high degree of dynamics and chaos raises the question of what residual meaning can be attached to governance. Is there any notion of control left at all in such a situation? What notion of governance is at work in our society? These are questions that Kooiman fails to answer.
Finally, Kooiman offers a highly abstract discussion with little historical or empirical foundations. There is no consideration in depth about whether this concern is about governance in all countries of the world, or whether it is focused in the developed world or particularly for his country Holland. One gets the impression that his focus is the developed world, but it is not clearly spelled out. The book really does not engage and as such gives us some literature that is devoid of practical commitment and application. He has taken a dramatic and exciting arena of social and political analysis but fails to make it attractive and interesting.
It becomes very clear that this book is more theoretical than pragmatic. It is more descriptive than prescriptive. For this purpose, the scale and scope of the governing system may be matched with the features of the system-to-be-governed. Learn more. Volume 85 , Issue 1. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.
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