Varieties of Good Governance: A Suggestion of Discursive Plurality [Book Review]

The concepts of good governance and also good administration have increased in popularity over recent years. They have found a convincing conceptual niche on a European and global level. This is also visible in scholarly activity; from the early 1990s on, there has been a wave of good governance talk and consequently, research and criticism. In this article the concepts of good governance and good administration are discussed from a discursive standpoint. The main claim is that the concepts are over-inclusive and can signify a plethora of meanings. Consequently, the mechanisms of this indeterminacy are studied; the criteria according to which good governance and administration are defined vary. This is exemplified in the contexts of the EU and the Council of Europe. Accordingly, different “good-nesses” can contradict each other. It is suggested that the different discourses or vocabularies of good governance and good administration form closed systems of meaning which identify only claims which adhere to their own rationality. Furthermore, these different meanings enable different forms of exercising societal power. The approach is inspired by systems theoretical reading of discourses
Keywords Good governance  Good administration  Indeterminacy of language  Systems theory  Power
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DOI 10.1007/s11196-013-9329-6
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Law's Empire.R. DWORKIN - 1986 - Harvard University Press.

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