Democratic Governance

Democratic Governance

Mark Bevir
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Democratic Governance
    Book Description:

    Democratic Governanceexamines the changing nature of the modern state and reveals the dangers these changes pose to democracy. Mark Bevir shows how new ideas about governance have gradually displaced old-style notions of government in Britain and around the world. Policymakers cling to outdated concepts of representative government while at the same time placing ever more faith in expertise, markets, and networks. Democracy exhibits blurred lines of accountability and declining legitimacy.

    Bevir explores how new theories of governance undermined traditional government in the twentieth century. Politicians responded by erecting great bureaucracies, increasingly relying on policy expertise and abstract notions of citizenship and, more recently, on networks of quasi-governmental and private organizations to deliver services using market-oriented techniques. Today, the state is an unwieldy edifice of nineteenth-century government buttressed by a sprawling substructure devoted to the very different idea of governance--and democracy has suffered.

    InDemocratic Governance, Bevir takes a comprehensive look at governance and the history and thinking behind it. He provides in-depth case studies of constitutional reform, judicial reform, joined-up government, and police reform. He argues that the best hope for democratic renewal lies in more interpretive styles of expertise, dialogic forms of policymaking, and more diverse avenues for public participation.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3685-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Interpreting Governance
    (pp. 1-14)

    Once you start to listen out for the word “governance,” it crops up everywhere. The Internet faces issues of Internet governance. International organizations promote good governance. Hospitals are introducing systems of clinical governance. Climate change and avian flu require innovative forms of global and transnational governance. Newspapers report scandalous failures of corporate governance.

    Unfortunately, the ubiquity of the word “governance” does not make its meaning any clearer. A lack of clarity about the meaning of governance might engender skepticism about its importance. The lack of clarity lends piquancy to questions such as: How does the concept of governance differ from...

  8. Part I: The New Governance
    • CHAPTER TWO The Modern State
      (pp. 17-38)

      Much of this book provides a particular perspective on current practices and problems of democratic governance. The new governance seriously questions and erodes representative ideals and institutions. Policy actors still cling to representative ideals and institutions, trying to patch up the erosion by introducing modernist forms of expertise. As well as defending this perspective on democratic governance, I provide a historical explanation of it. The new governance rose because new modernist theories led us to see the world differently and even to make the world anew. Policy actors have responded to the new governance in limited ways because of their...

    • CHAPTER THREE New Theories
      (pp. 39-64)

      New theories and new worlds of governance pose problems for representative democracy. Representative democracy was firmly entrenched within the developmental narratives of the nineteenth century. Typically these narratives relied on principles such as liberty, state, and nation to tame contingency and contestation. The principle of liberty suggested that democracy was something like the teleological outcome of history. The principle of the nation suggested that the citizens of a democratic polity had a common good that would guide their public life. The principle of the state suggested that it was the expression of this common good. Collectively these principles contributed to...

    • CHAPTER FOUR New Worlds
      (pp. 65-92)

      The new governance is in large part about the rise of new forms of knowledge or expertise. The last two chapters explored a broader historic shift in knowledge production from developmental historicism to modernist theories of governance based on formal economic and sociological concepts of rationality. Interpretive social science enables us to see how these new forms of social science not only analyze the world but also come to constitute it. So, in this chapter I examine the new worlds that have not only inspired some of the new theories but also been constituted in part by them.

      The current...

  9. Part II: Constitutionalism
    • CHAPTER FIVE Democratic Governance
      (pp. 95-121)

      As the new governance emerged from the new theories by which people made sense of problems confronting the state, it began to pose questions of accountability and democracy. Neoliberals argue that “good governance” depends on marketization to promote efficiency and combat corruption. In addition, they sometimes extend the definition of “good governance” to include various democratic principles and practices, thereby raising the question of what content to give democracy. Some neoliberals remain unreflectively wedded to a loosely conceived concept of representative democracy. Others draw on rational choice theory to rethink democracy itself. They often suggest that principles such as freedom...

    • CHAPTER SIX Constitutional Reform
      (pp. 122-146)

      How does the previous chapter on democratic governance help us to make sense of programs of constitutional reform? We could compare the reforms with different concepts of democracy. Perhaps we thereby might judge how well the reforms do or do not fit with whichever concept of democracy we find most compelling. We could give the reforms marks out of ten. But it is arguable that the marks we gave would say more about our own visions of democracy than about the reforms themselves. An alternative approach becomes possible once we allow that concepts of democracy are embedded in traditions that...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Judicial Reform
      (pp. 147-174)

      Immediately following the 1997 election, the New Labour government began to pursue a series of radical constitutional reforms with the intention of making British political institutions more effective and more accountable. As a result of these reforms, the judiciary has witnessed more change in the last ten years than in the entire past century. The Human Rights Act (1998) dramatically extended the practice of judicial review. The Constitutional Reform Act (2005) overhauled the Lord Chancellor’s Office and the process of judicial appointments and set the scene for the creation of a supreme court.

      How are we to interpret judicial reform...

  10. Part III: Public Administration
    • CHAPTER EIGHT Public Policy
      (pp. 177-198)

      The concept of governance spread as new theories and new worlds undermined older analyses of the state, casting doubt on the inherited view of representative democracy. They highlighted problems associated with the relationship between principles and agents and with the declining ability of the center to control the networks and markets through which policies and services are increasingly delivered. Part 1 of this book explored the rise and content of these new theories and worlds. Part 2 examined the problems they posed for constitutional democracy. I also argued there that policy actors had responded to these problems largely by drawing...

    • CHAPTER NINE Joined-up Governance
      (pp. 199-226)

      How does the previous chapter on theories of public policy help us to make sense of recent administrative reforms? Once again my approach relies on the idea that the theories helped inspire the reforms. This approach suggests that we can better understand the reforms if we identify the intellectual traditions that led people to introduce them. More particularly, this chapter will argue that institutionalist approaches to the new governance lie behind the Third Way and joined-up government.

      The claim that social science informs administrative reforms may appear less plausible than the one that democratic theories inform constitutional reform. It would...

    • CHAPTER TEN Police Reform
      (pp. 227-250)

      This chapter continues to explore the way in which public sector reforms rely on expertise from the social sciences to address problems associated with the new governance. Here the focus shifts, however, from joined-up government to the narratives and cultures that inform police reform, where police reform refers broadly to the formal and informal attempts to change the policing practices of public and private sector actors. My main aim is to draw attention to the differences between the elite forms of expertise that inspired the reforms, and the local cultures of the rank-and file-officers who typically implement the reforms. Recognition...

    • CONCLUSION After Modernism
      (pp. 251-274)

      The word “governance” is often used in confusingly diverse ways. Governance can point to changes in the state and the public sector. It refers to the state’s abandonment of hierarchical structures by which to develop and implement public policy. It captures the shift from bureaucratic hierarchies to markets and networks. In this view, the state has a diminished capacity to act, and it thus increasingly enlists the aid of private and voluntary sector organizations in its attempts to realize its goals. Similarly, “governance” can refer to the consequent rise in the public sector of self-organizing policy networks. The rise of...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 275-292)
  12. Index
    (pp. 293-301)