The limits of network governance

Jonathan S. Davies

in Challenging governance theory

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426154
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301639 | DOI:
The limits of network governance

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This chapter discusses the development of the critique of the network governance theory, exploring the avalanche of literatures suggesting that state-market-civil society networks are ‘governance as usual’. Governance networks often turn out to be the same kinds of institutions as those they were meant to transcend, replicating hierarchies, exclusions, and inequalities and arguably aggravating endemic distrust. This chapter draws on a range of critical literatures in arguing that network governance is probably rare and highly vulnerable to being swamped by the hierarchical, inequitable, and instrumental practices it was meant to transcend. The latter part of the chapter explores the strengths and weaknesses of the Foucauldian account as a critical perspective from within the post-traditional milieu itself, arguing that despite its undoubted potency, it is undermined by scepticism towards structure and the consequent failure to recognise the role of the capitalist state as an agent of both governmentality and coercive power.

Keywords: governance; governance networks; networks; capitalism; civil society

Chapter.  7878 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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