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ISBN: 978-0-7456-2978-0
256 pages
May 2004, Polity
Governance (0745629784) cover image


Governance is an easy-to read introduction to an increasingly important concept in political science. It provides a clear overview of how the concept has been used in the sub-fields of public administration and public policy, international relations, European studies and comparative politics.

There is no universally accepted and agreed definition of 'governance'. It remains an elusive theory, defined and conceptualized in various ways. In this book, Anne Mette Kjær guides the reader through the key theoretical debates which have given rise to distinct interpretations of governance. Drawing on a wide range of empirical examples to illustrate her arguments, the author explores how governance has been used in different ways to describe political changes in the modern world. She goes on to weigh up the pros and cons of governance as an analytical term, and concludes with a discussion of the World Bank’s role as an international organization which aims to promote ‘good governance’ in poor countries across the globe.

This is the first textbook to offer a systematic assessment of current debates around the concept of governance. It will be a valuable resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students of politics, international relations and public policy.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: the meanings of governance.

Chapter 2: Governance in public administration and Public Policy: Steering inter-organizational networks.

Chapter 3: Governance in international relations: governing in a global era.

Chapter 4: European governance: Between international relations and public policy.

Chapter 5. Governance in comparative politics 1: the state and economic development.

Chapter 6: Governance in comparative politics 2: theories of democratization.

Chapter 7: Governance and the World Bank.

Chapter 8: Conclusion.


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Author Information

Anne Mette Kjaer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • This is the first book to fully explore the way in which governance is interpreted in different fields of political science, such as International Relations, comparative politics, public administration etc.
  • Provides a common institutional definition of governance.
  • Provides a common critique of governance as under-emphasising issues of power.
  • Offers new insights into understanding ‘governance’ as a key concept in political science.
  • Accessibly written for students approaching the topic for the first time.
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'In Governance: Key Concepts, Anne Mette Kjaer has done scholars and students a worthy service by grounding the study of governance in a solid foundation of theoretical principle and practical example. She has encapsulated much of the governance literature into a readable, brief, and comprehensive work.'

International Studies Review

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