Power and politics in interactive governance

Jacob Torfing, B. Guy Peters, Jon Pierre and Eva Sørensen

in Interactive Governance

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596751
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738180 | DOI:
Power and politics in interactive governance

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In order to advance a realistic, political account of governance, this chapter aims to explore how interactive governance can be analyzed in terms of power. The basic assumption underlying our exploration is that power is not only visible in the negotiated interaction among a plethora of public and private actors who aim to influence collective decisions. Henceforth, in order to grasp the intrinsic link between interactive governance and power, we must analyze not only “power in interactive governance” but also “power of interactive governance,” “power over interactive governance,” and “power as interactive governance.” We need to consider all the different ways that interactive governance and power are related in order to fully understand the essentially political character of interactive of governance. As such, the first section documents and explains the neglect of power and politics in the study of interactive governance. The second section analyzes the exercise of power within interactive governance arenas. The third section looks at the power of interactive policy arenas as they are influencing wider society. The fourth section envisages the attempt to exercise power over interactive governance through various forms of metagovernance. The fifth section draws on poststructuralist theories of power in order to show how interactive governance can be analyzed as a new historical form of power. The conclusion summarizes the argument and reflects on the practical and political implications of different ways of relating power and interactive governance.

Keywords: power; interactive governance; actors; policy

Chapter.  10297 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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