The encyclopedia provides a one-stop point of reference for the diverse and complex topics surrounding governance. It concentrates primarily on topics related to the changing nature and role of the state in recent times, and the ways in which these have been conceptualized. The relevant time period dates roughly from the collapse of the post-war consensus and the rise of neoliberal regimes in the 1970s. The changes in the state are those associated with, firstly, the transfer of powers, rights, and functions to organizations within civil society, and, secondly, the rise of new types of regional and international linkages and problems. The conceptual focus is on the ways in which these changes in the state are explored in political science, public administration, political economy, and sociology.
Governance refers, in particular, to changes in the nature and the role of the state since the last quarter of the twentieth century. The state has become both increasingly dependent on organizations in civil society and increasingly constrained by international linkages. On one hand, the public sector in many states has shifted toward markets and networks, as opposed to bureaucratic hierarchies: governance thus refers to the ways in which patterns of rule operate in and through groups within the voluntary and private sector. On the other, states have become increasingly embroiled with transnational and international settings as a result of the internationalization of industrial and financial transactions, the rise of regional blocks, and concerns over problems such as terrorism and the environment: governance thus refers to the formal and informal ways in which states have attempted to respond to the changing global order. The Encyclopedia of Governance unpacks the jargon that characterizes much writing in the field so as to make it intelligible to a wider public.
Originally published in print format in 2006.