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A Decentered Theory of Governance

  • Bevir Mark

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Registered author(s):

    There are two leading narratives of governance. One is a neoliberal one about markets that is inspired by rational choice. The other is a story about networks associated with institutionalism in political science. This paper argues that both rational choice and institutionalism rely on assumptions about our ability to readoff people’s beliefs from objective social facts about them, and yet that these assumptions are untenable given the philosophical critique of positivism. Hence, we need to modify our leading theories and narratives of governance. We need to decenter them. The paper then explores the distinctive answers a decentered theory of governance would give to questions such as: Is governance new? Is governance a vague metaphor? Is governance uniform? How does governance change? And is governance failure inevitable? Finally, the paper explores some of the consequences of decentered theory has for how we might think about policy formation and democracy.Il existe deux histoires majeures de la gouvernance. La première, d’inspiration néolibérale, s’ intéresse aux marchés et se fonde sur les choix rationnels. La seconde s’intéresse aux réseaux relevant de l’institutionnalisme en science politique. Cet article soutient qu’aussi bien les choix rationnels que l’institutionnalisme se fondent sur des hypothèses concernant notre possibilité de déterminer les croyances des individus à partir de faits sociaux objectifs, et que néanmoins ces hypothèses sont insoutenables face à la critique philosophique du positivisme. A partir de là, nous devons modifier nos théories majeures ainsi que notre compréhension de la gouvernance. Nous devons les “décentrer”. Ainsi, l’article explore les différentes réponses qu’une théorie décentrée de la gouvernance peut apporter à des questions telles que : la gouvernance est-elle nouvelle ? La gouvernance est-elle une vague métaphore ? La gouvernance est-elle uniforme ? Comment la gouvernance évolue-t-elle ? Ou encore, l’échec de la gouvernance est-il inévitable ? Finalement, l’article explore quelquesunes des conséquences de la théorie décentrée quant à l’élaboration des politiques et la démocratie.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 1-25

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:12:y:2002:i:4:n:2
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