The October 2014 issue of Governance (27.4) will feature a series of articles on external actors, state-building, and service provision in areas of limited statehood. All of the articles are now available online. (See links below.)
Thomas Risse of Freie Universität Berlin provides an overview of the special issue: “While virtually all polities enjoy uncontested international legal sovereignty, there are wide variations in domestic sovereignty, i.e., the monopoly over the means of violence and/or the ability of the state to make and implement policies. Most states lack domestic sovereignty and exhibit areas of limited statehood, at least in some parts of the territory or with regard to some policy-areas. Areas of limited statehood are not, however, ungoverned or ungovernable spaces where anarchy and chaos prevail, as this special issue demonstrates. The provision of collective goods and services is possible even under extremely adverse conditions of fragile or failed statehood. Read the rest of this entry »
“If we are not in the most dysfunctional period in our history,” says Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, “we are certainly in the top five.” The problem isn’t just ideological polarization, Orenstein argues in a new commentary for Governance. It’s tribalism — “an approach were if you are for it, I am reflexively against it, even if I was for it yesterday.” Many factors encourage tribalism: skewed redistricting, campaign financing, and the transformation of mainstream media. And the consequences are profound. “Political dysfunction,” Ornstein concludes , threatens “the health, well-being, and future prospects for the country.” Free access to the commentary.
In a commentary published in Governance last October, Kim Lane Scheppele examined the problem of “Frankenstates” — nations that conform to good governance checklists but are still dysfunctional, because of the malignant interaction effects that follow when “perfectly reasonable constitutional components are stitched together.” Scheppele cited Hungary as an example. Read the commentary. In a recent contribution to a European Commission forum on EU justice policies, Scheppele proposes a new approach for dealing with Frankenstates. Drawing on her commentary, Scheppele says that the Commission should broaden its field of vision to evaluate such interaction effects. Read the discussion paper.
A new report from the EU-funded COCOPS research project finds that European academics rank Governance as one of the top three journals in terms of general quality. Three hundred senior academics responded to the survey, completed in 2013. The survey also found that Governance was one of the top three preferred journals for publishing research. Download the report.
The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration has published a special issue comprised of articles written by Bidhya Boworwathana of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University. Professor Bowornwathana passed away in August 2013. Governance has also published a note remembering Professor Bowornwathana, who was actively involved in the IPSA Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee, the academic sponsor of Governance. The special issue includes an article originally written for Governance.
In the current issue of Governance, Shruti Majumdar reviews Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty and India, by Akhil Gupta. Majumdar says that the book “paints a vivid picture of a Weberian nightmare — a state whose everyday functioning is shot through with neither rationalization nor administrative logic, rather with contingency, guesswork, and ‘barely controlled chaos.’” Free access to the review.
And Clare Lockhart reviews Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence by Charles T. Coll. The book’s “major contribution,” Lockhart says, “is to focus attention on the critical policy issue of why peace agreements break down and on the central importance of political dynamics following the apparent achievement of peace.” Free access to the review.
It’s widely believed that transparency will improve the perceived legitimacy of governmental decisionmaking. But is that really the case? In the current issue of Governance, four scholars from the University of Gothenberg — Jenny De Fine Licht, Daniel Naurin, Peter Esaiasson, and Mikael Gilljam — use an innovative experimental design to determine how transparency actually affects legitimacy. “The common notion of a straightforward positive correlation between transparency and legitimacy is rather naïve,” the authors argue. “The effect is highly dependent on context and may indeed be negative as well as positive.” Free access to the article.
Also in the current issue, Yeling Tan examines the unexpected ways in which disclosure of environmental information has produced results in China. Read an interview with Yeling Tan on the Governance blog.