Chapter

Transparency and 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596751.003.0012
Transparency and governance

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Interactive governance draws to a significant degree on the availability of information. In order for actors to become involved in a meaningful way in the governance process, they must possess some knowledge about the plans and intentions of the major players, and not in the least of the involved public authorities. In interactive governance settings where participation, and subsequently influence, is not a given condition but is contextually defined and subject to ongoing power struggles, the policy process could be seen as a series of opportunity structures for societal actors. In that perspective, transparency becomes a prerequisite for interactive governance. At the same time, governance processes that are fully transparent in terms of policy objectives and the scope of financial and other resources easily become overloaded by actors with a stake in the policy issues or the resources to be allocated. Here, strategically structured seclusion becomes a powerful instrument for shaping policies and for the distribution of funds. Thus, in interactive governance processes, knowledge is a powerful resource and actors have an interest in holding on to important pieces of information. Indeed, information is a commodity that can be traded for access or influence.

Keywords: actors; knowledge

Chapter.  9091 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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