Navigating Polycentric Governance: A View from the Middle
For the world’s population, polycentrism in governance is not a particularly meta-level international phenomenon, but a lived micro-political reality. Extreme examples of polycentricism in power over daily life are seen in the ‘hybridity’ of institutions that operate under conditions of state fragility where governments fail to govern and where non-state institutions play significant roles of mediation or control. At issue is how to obtain a better picture and understanding of what polycentricism in being ‘governed’ means for whom? More specifically, under what conditions does a country’s configuration of governance polycentricism abet or contain popular expressions or ‘activisms’ with (potential) institutional effects? What are these multiple sites of governance within a society and what might this mean for socio-political agency of ‘middle’ economic strata? This ‘class’ grouping is chosen because of its anticipated growth and influence on future development choices, on the evolution of domestic polities and on the nature of polycentric governance associated with 'The Rise of the South' in the global economic and political order. Exploration of this new focus will combine two analytical perspectives. One is ‘civic driven change’, a framework specifically designed to interrogate civic agency in socio-political processes. This lens provides categories against which the distribution of actor + power can be mapped. The other is derived from actor-network theory (ANT). The advantage of this latter theorization is incorporation of technology as a network actor, which is an increasing feature of middle class life everywhere. The approach will compare and contrast the – apparently similar - trajectories of mass activism recently seen in Brazil and Turkey. Both started with agitation against a discrete issue of public policy, which broadened in agenda and gained in scale. In Brazil, the trigger was mounting opposition to the infrastructure costs of the impending World Cup football competition, leading to a much wider demonstration against government performance and integrity. In Turkey, the trigger was the intended destruction of Gezi Park in Istanbul, escalating to mass action against the advent of an authoritarian democracy. In both cases, electronically networked agency played a significant role in mobilization and self-organisation.
|Keywords||polycentric governance, activisms, middle classes, Brazil, Turkey|
|Note||Lecture, 14th EADI General Conference, Bonn, June 25, 2014|
Fowler, A.F, & Biekart, K. (2014, June 25). Navigating Polycentric Governance: A View from the Middle. EUR-ISS-CIRI. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/77916