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date: 23 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article investigates the emergence of governance as a contested concept within political science and public administration, describing its braided pathways to what is increasingly referred to as the ‘new governance’. Discussion then turns to the principal perspectives on the new governance from one end of a widening spectrum of definitions to the other. This survey is followed by an explanation from governance by governments to governance by quasi- and nongovernmental institutions of civil society. Offered next is a critical reflection on the tendency to proclaim and advocate ‘the new’, a tendency which undermines the once-impressive claim by the public administration profession to ownership of a deep historical, comparative, and analytical understanding of administrative institutions and their evolution. It suggests that the emergence of a genuinely new paradigm of governance would require fundamental changes in constitutional institutions that are not now in prospect.

Keywords: governance, political science, public administration, governments, civil society, administrative institutions

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