Based on a wide variety of case studies on three continents and a variety of conceptual sources, the authors develop a theory that clarifies the nature and functioning of dependencies that mark governance evolutions. This in turn delineates in an entirely new manner the spaces open for policy experiment. As such, it offers a new mapping of the middle ground between libertarianism and social engineering. Theoretically, the approach draws on a wide array of sources: institutional & development economics, systems theories, post-structuralism, actor- network theories, planning theory and legal studies. 'Evolutionary Governance Theory’ is based on a long period of investigation and experimentation, of fieldwork and theoretical reflection, spanning three continents and a number of disciplines. It is an introduction and a work in progress, a call for and an example of what is called Evolutionary Governance Theory.
The authors intend to present a new mapping of the terrain between libertarian approaches to government and social engineering thinking, between mythologies of entirely free markets producing an optimal organization of society and mythologies of central planning materializing utopian dreams. Both approaches they deem mythical because they start from ideological premises, rather than from analyses of governance and governance effects. Insight in variations in markets and democracies, and in the evolutions producing these variations, is considered by the authors of the utmost practical and theoretical importance.
'Evolutionary Governance Theory: an introduction’: by Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Martijn Duineveld. ISBN 978-3-319-00983-4. Price: € 52,99. Available from Springer publishers.