Lecturer: Prof. B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh
This class will examine the conceptual foundations of contemporary public governance, interrogating key ideas and concepts that currently frame governance theory and practices. Recent decades have witnessed shifts of societal steering from ‘traditional’ hierarchic government to public-private networks surrounding ‘complex’ or ‘wicked’ problems. These shifts have been accompanied by a rapid development of governance theories, studying new modes of governance (e.g. network governance, collaborative governance, adaptive governance, interactive governance), new types of policy instruments, ideational dynamics (belief systems, framing, discourse coalitions), and challenges of coordination and integration, inter alia. Getting to grips with conceptual innovation is important for scholars as they seek both to understand the complex evolution of governance, and to be more rigorous and self-conscious about conceptual usage in their own research practice.
This master class will allow students to explore the evolution of the conceptual field of public governance; to interrogate critically the concepts which play a central role in governance practices and innovations; and to present conceptual problems they are experiencing in their own research for collective discussion. Since the topic is broad, the aim of this short course is not to provide exhaustive coverage of individual concepts but rather to present an historical overview, to examines approaches to conceptual analysis, to explore a series of conceptual exemplars, and to focus on conceptual issues students are wrestling within their own research activities. Students will be asked to nominate up to three concepts -- which they find particularly interesting or important for their research work -- when they register for the class, and as much as possible these will be incorporated into the discussion.