Governance puzzles

Clarke, John (2009). Governance puzzles. In: Budd, Leslie and Harris, Lisa eds. e-Governance: Managing or Governing. Routledge e-Business. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 29–52.




This chapter focuses primarily on puzzles about changing forms and practices of governance and then addresses the ways in which issues of e-Governance are implicated in these puzzles. Governance has emerged as a key concern of studies of changing relations between state and society or government and people in the last two decades (see, inter alia, Cooper, 1998; Kooiman, 1993; Newman, 2001 and 2005; Pierre, 2000; Rhodes, 1997). Despite — or possibly even because of — this growing attention, it remains a somewhat blurred and elusive term, bearing a range of different meanings and interpretations, and carrying the imprint of different theoretical perspectives. Nevertheless, most positions seem to treat governance as a defining feature of the modern/contemporary world — for example, expressed in the claim that we have moved ‘from government to governance’ (Rhodes, 1997). For others, however, governance refers to a still emergent set of institutional forms, arrangements and practices involved in the coordination of the public realm and its unsettled and uncertain relations with other domains — the private, the domestic and the transnational (Newman, 2005). An alternative view of governance challenges the ‘grand narrative’ of the shift from government to governance and addresses new governance processes as disorganised and disorganising (Bode, 2007; Clarke, 2006).

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