chapter  6
18 Pages

DOES GOVERNANCE EXIST?

ByOWEN HUGHES

The question in the title has a fairly obvious answer. Of course governance exists, so the question posed is moot from the very start. Consult any dictionary, and the word appears. That there is a noun “governance” is undoubted; precisely what it means is contested – so contested that the word has lost much of its utility. Much has been written about governance, particularly since its relatively recent rediscovery in the political science/public administration literature. As Frederickson has noted, “because governance is a power word, a dominant descriptor, and the current preference of academic tastemakers, there has been a rush to affix to it all of the other fashions of the day” (2005: 285). Governance in some usage becomes somewhat mysterious; meanings are assigned that have relevance only for a cognoscenti socialized and imbued into the mystery, with everyone else excluded. This is problematic.