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Rod Rhodes: The theory and practice of governance: the next steps

Rod Rhodes is Professor of Government (Research) within Social Sciences at the University of Southampton.


In the 2000s, the New Public Governance (NPG) became prominent and this article takes stock of developments in studying governance. There are two much discussed waves of governance; network governance followed by metagovernance. There is now an emerging third wave – decentred governance. This article describes each wave and its weaknesses, arguing for a bottom-up approach to the study of governance that uses storytelling as its main method of data collection. It describes ways of collecting and analysing stories. It ends with a warning. The local knowledge encapsulated in stories about governance is ‘shifty’, and can be rejected by central policy makers because it does not fit with their expectations.

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