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Framing Governance on “People, Spaces, Deliberation”

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

So, what’s governance anyway? No, don’t ask me for a definition. I can, however, tell you how we frame it. People, Spaces, Deliberation has been around for about four years now, and we hope we have made our modest contribution to the discussion of governance, especially in a development context.

To give an idea about how we frame governance, I took a look at the tags we use most frequently for our posts. Each post in which the tag occurred was counted. And here it is: Governance, on this blog, is about, first and foremost, public opinion and accountability. It’s also about the media as institutions of accountability and media development, about transparency, about fighting corruption, about social media – and about communication.  










I suggest that our focus on public opinion and accountability denotes a deeply participatory perspective on governance. Governance is for and on behalf of the people, and the people are the most important stakeholder of the state.

Now, we believe that we’re offering a perspective on governance that is complementary to a more traditional governance perspective as it used in more economically focused development work. That perspective would probably include more emphasis on institutions, public sector reform, political economy, and so on. We have a lot in common with that perspective too – for instance, the focus on transparency and corruption.

There is no single definition for governance. There can only be frames, perspectives, which groups of practitioners, researchers, and thinkers suggest. In the private sector, governance is corporate governance. In developed countries, it might even be about liberty and equality. We present our frame of public opinion and accountability as contribution to an immense discussion, and we like to believe that we draw from a wide variety of disciplines and experiences. Why don’t you share with us your take on governance?

Picture: Flickr user calamur

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