Governance: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview


The word "governance" is ubiquitous. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund make loans conditional on "good governance." Climate change and avian flu appear as issues of "global governance." The U.S. Forest Service calls for "collaborative governance." What accounts for the pervasive use of the term "governance" and what does it really mean? In this Very Short Introduction, a leading authority on governance, Mark Bevir, considers not only the main theories of governance, but also sheds light on their...
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Governance: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview


The word "governance" is ubiquitous. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund make loans conditional on "good governance." Climate change and avian flu appear as issues of "global governance." The U.S. Forest Service calls for "collaborative governance." What accounts for the pervasive use of the term "governance" and what does it really mean? In this Very Short Introduction, a leading authority on governance, Mark Bevir, considers not only the main theories of governance, but also sheds light on their impact in a variety of areas, including corporate, public, and global affairs. He shows that the word "governance" is used in a variety of contexts, but at a general level, it refers to all forms of social coordination and patterns of rule. Bevir also considers how to differentiate between good and bad governance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199606412
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/25/2012
  • Series: Very Short Introductions Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 732,562
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Bevir is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Key Concepts in Governance, Democratic Governance, and The State as Cultural Practice (OUP, 2010). He is also the editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Governance.

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Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
1. What is governance?
2. Organizational governance
3. Corporate governance
4. Public governance
5. Global governance
6. Good Governance
Further reading
Index

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  • Posted August 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ┬┐Governance┬┐ is one of those phrases that have been featured in

    “Governance” is one of those phrases that have been featured in the news a lot lately. I most frequently come across it in the context of “corporate governance,” but other usages (public governance, global governance, etc.) have also crept up into my peripheral vision. This word is for the most part pretty self-explanatory, but I wanted to get a bit more of the sense of its overall meaning. So this is one of the main motives behind my decision to read “Governance: A Very Short Introduction.” The book indeed covers this subject relatively thoroughly, but it also leaves something to be desired. 




    One of this short book’s main theses is that the reason we hear more about governance these days is that the word “government,” with all its implications, has become decidedly less popular. As the popularity of big centralized governing and planning institutions wanes, the process of governing is becoming more and more diffused. Even within any single institution, the decision-making has become more devolved and collegial, as opposed to centralized and hierarchical. This book gives some really interesting examples from the real world and from the recent developments that illustrate various points that the author is trying to make. 




    Unfortunately, after reading this book I am nowhere closer to understanding what governance really is, how can it be measured, and particularly how can we determine if any given institution is engaging in “good governance” practices. The book is much more discursive and descriptive, and in many ways it reads like a contemporary history book. Furthermore, I also think that many of its points could have been stated much more succinctly.




    This is a decent enough book on its subject matter, but I would not recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting a very concrete and practical understanding of governance. I am not sure if such a book exists, but if does I would certainly like to take a look at it. 

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