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Rethinking network governance: new forms of analysis and the implications for IGR/MLG

farrelly, michael and jeffares, stephen and skelcher, chris (2010) Rethinking network governance: new forms of analysis and the implications for IGR/MLG. In: Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States: Theoretical Perspectives. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 87-107. ISBN 978-1-84844-319-8

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Our position is that network governance can be understood as a communicative arena. Networks, then, are not defined by frequency of interactions between actors but by sharing of and contest between different clusters of ideas, theories and normative orientations (discourses) in relation to the specific context within which actors operate. A discourse comprises an ensemble of ideas, concepts and causal theories that give meaning to and reproduce ways of understanding the world (Chouliaraki and Fairclough 1999). Consequently, network governance can be understood as the inherently political process through which discourses are produced, reproduced and transformed. Democratic network governance thus becomes the study of the way in which the core challenges of democratic practice are addressed – how is legitimacy awarded, by what mechanisms are decisions reached, and how is accountability enabled. Three approaches to the discursive analysis of democracy in network governance are considered - argumentation analysis, inter-subjectivity, and critical discourse analysis – and their implications for the study of intergovernmental relations and multi-level governance (IGR/MLG) are discussed. Case examples are provided. We conclude that the value for the study of MLG/IGR is to complement existing forms of analysis by opening up the communicative and ideational aspects of interactions between levels of government and other actors.

Type of Work:Book Section
Date:2010 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Institute of Local Government Studies

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Keywords:governance, network, discourse, multi-level governance, inter governmental relations
Subjects:JK Political institutions (United States)
JF Political institutions (General)
JN Political institutions (Europe)
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:E. Ongaro, A. Massey, M. Holzer and E. Wayneberg
ID Code:791
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