Effektivt og legitimt? Effective and Legitimate?

Kasper Bendix Mikkelsen & Jonas Rud Berner

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This project concerns the democratic conditions relating to the shift from traditional types of governance based on the idea of sovereign power, toward more recent network governance theories, focusing on the governance practices of municipal politicians. We will look at how network governance and strategies of metagovernance affects democracy, as well as the roles and perceptions of politicians within the new system. Relevant examples of the possible problems are highlighted, among others the ways in which politicians feel a distancing in their relation to the administration. Several politicians experience pressure when confronted with situations in which they are forced to make decisions, the background and consequences of which they do not understand. Furthermore there is widespread concern that administrative personnel act increasingly political. Longer hours and unfamiliar situations challenge the terms by which politicians influence policy. In order to investigate this, we start out with the research question: How is Danish democracy challenge by network governance? With the previously mentioned problems in mind, an analysis of the role of the politician and how it has changed parallel to earlier mentioned development is central to us. This becomes all the more important as politicians within representative democracies like ours are the link between the voting public and the state. The scientifically theoretic foundation of the project is social constructivism, which is appropriate here as it seeks to highlight whether generally accepted truths of our topic are really concise or if it might as well be different. We use network governance theory because it enables us to better understand and analyse the complex interactions and policy processes within governance networks. These are utilized in elaborating on the concept of the meta governor – the politician using strategies of metagovernance. We will also use the theories of Foucault’s concepts of governmentality, but especially the idea of power as being productive. These theories also support each other as they help to highlight relevant factors concerning politicians and their identities. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with municipal politicians. It is investigated how the chosen problems can be mitigated using metagovernance strategies, and how the new network structures influence the self-image of the politicians. In sum it is shown that the role of the politician has changed in two aspects. He needs to adapt to the role of the metagovernor and there has been a normative shift toward the idea of metagovernance as the right most effective means of governance. The discussion concerns problems related to democracy in governance networks. Among other topics, concepts of power, accountability and legitimacy versus effectiveness are discussed. The conclusion is that it is necessary for politicians to seek the role of meta governor to maintain their influence. Further, it is concluded that the management network, in spite of certain weaknesses in the democratic sense, yet can be an effective and legitimate tool for governance.

UddannelserBasis - Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato19 dec. 2013
VejledereHannah Vodstrup


  • Network Governance