Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pg. 99: Mark Bevir's "Democratic Governance"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Democratic Governance by Mark Bevir.

About the book, from the publisher:
Democratic Governance examines the changing nature of the modern state and reveals the dangers these changes pose to democracy. Mark Bevir shows how new ideas about governance have gradually displaced old-style notions of government in Britain and around the world. Policymakers cling to outdated concepts of representative government while at the same time placing ever more faith in expertise, markets, and networks. Democracy exhibits blurred lines of accountability and declining legitimacy.

Bevir explores how new theories of governance undermined traditional government in the twentieth century. Politicians responded by erecting great bureaucracies, increasingly relying on policy expertise and abstract notions of citizenship and, more recently, on networks of quasi-governmental and private organizations to deliver services using market-oriented techniques. Today, the state is an unwieldy edifice of nineteenth-century government buttressed by a sprawling substructure devoted to the very different idea of governance--and democracy has suffered.

In Democratic Governance, Bevir takes a comprehensive look at governance and the history and thinking behind it. He provides in-depth case studies of constitutional reform, judicial reform, joined-up government, and police reform. He argues that the best hope for democratic renewal lies in more interpretive styles of expertise, dialogic forms of policymaking, and more diverse avenues for public participation.
Read an excerpt from Democratic Governance, and learn more about the book at the Princeton University Press website.

Mark Bevir is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written widely about political theory and public policy. His previous books include New Labour: A Critique, Governance Stories, and Key Concepts in Governance.

The Page 99 Test: Democratic Governance.

--Marshal Zeringue