Antonino Palumbo

Principled Governance: Politics to the People

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Collaborative Governance – Networked Polity – Regulatory State – Principled Regulation – Plural Representation.

An influential narrative claims that the erosion of the modern nation state is causing a historical shift from «government» to «governance». Society-centred new modes of governance are displacing state-centric tools of government. Shaped by bottom-up pressures, these changes are in the process of engendering a more democratic and functionally differentiated type of agency – the Networked Polity. The paper challenges this narrative. It claims that extant governance networks are merely means for co-opting specific societal actors. For, the societal actors operating within those networks are given much reduced powers than the ones conceded to them in the past by declining neo-corporate arrangements. This explains the inability of new modes of governance to boost the legitimacy of the national and transnational authorities relying on them. Thus, the conclusion that the Networked Polity remains a normative ideal that needs to be properly justified, and politically striven for, rather than an emerging reality. Building on the more critical strands of the governance studies literature, the paper engages in this normative task. It proposes a set of necessary preconditions needed for engendering self-reflexive forms of participatory governance capable of democratizing the policy process from the bottom up. The first three preconditions are concerned with the constitutional structure of the Networked Polity, while the second three pertain to institutional design at the post-constitutional stage. Outside the remit of the paper remain political questions concerning the way in which those preconditions can be brought about

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