The term ‘governance’ has had an impressive career from the early 1990s onwards. It has developed into the catchword for an ever-growing number of studies in the social sciences. At the same time, it is used as a ‘magic formula’ – often in terms of ‘good governance’ – in political speeches and documents, at both the domestic and international levels. However, as is often the case with new concepts, there is no consensus regarding its meaning and specific applicability (Kooiman et al. 2008: 2). The definition of the term varies considerably across different subfields and research strands of the social sciences (see Pierre and Peters 2000: 7; Kohler-Koch and Rittberger 2006; Levi-Faur 2012). This lack of a common meaning can be traced to the fact that the concept is used not only in an analytical way, but also in a normative sense (Doornbos 2001).
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