What is it about?

Network governance, which involves an informal and self-regulated set of public and private actors, who together address various political and social problems, has substantially altered the institutional landscape concerning the formation and implementation of public policy. A common view is that these arrangements give rise to increased pluralism and informed deliberation that improve political decisions and public rule. In this article I question these normative assumptions and show how new relations of domination may arise as there are unequal access to participate and react to policy formulation and implementation in network governance regimes.

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Why is it important?

In times of growing popularity for networks and extensive collaboration as new organizational forms of public rule it is necessary to ask how political power is reorganized in these particular organizational forms. Since networks substantially reorganizes the political spaces within the, traditional understanding of power/freedom dichotomy no longer serves the analysis of political power. Thus, introducing this framework informed by neo-republicanism in which five dimensions and sources for potential institutionalized domination between participants and non-participants allow us to analyze and question the normative foundation of network governance.


The basic argument in this article and the suggestion that network governance need to be analyzed from a perspective that do not follow a monolithic view of power connected to the state is the result of a few years of close engagement with the literature and the normative foundation of network governance, pluralism, deliberation and dispersion of power. In order to understand the rearrangement of political power that follows from a new organizational form I found it necessary to suggest a new theoretical framework that enabled a more critical stance towards network governance and the pluralist ethos.

Oscar Larsson
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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This page is a summary of: A theoretical framework for analyzing institutionalized domination in network governance arrangements, Critical Policy Studies, October 2017, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/19460171.2017.1393440.
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