There has been a growing debate about the democratic problems and potentials of governance networks among political scientists and public managers. While some claim that governance networks tend to undermine democracy, others argue that they have the potential to improve and strengthen democracy. This debate is found wanting in two respects. First of all, there has been far too little discussion about what democracy means in relation to pluricentric governance networks. Second, the current debate builds on the assumption that it is possible to give a clear-cut answer to the question of the democratic problems and merits of governance networks. This assumption is highly questionable, and prevents a more nuanced assessment of the democratic performance of governance networks. As such, it diverts the focus of attention away from the fact that governance networks may be democratic in some respects, but undemocratic in others. Henceforth, in order to make a more precise assessment of the democratic quality of governance networks we need to develop normative criteria that permit us to measure the democratic quality of governance networks on different dimensions. Such criteria are developed and brought together in what we shall call a model for the democratic anchorage of governance networks. As illustrated by our qualitative case study of a multi-level and cross-border governance network involved in the recent decision to build a bridge between Denmark and Germany, the democratic anchorage model helps to assess the democratic performance of specific governance networks and to gain knowledge about the critical factors that determine their degree of democratic anchorage. Such knowledge is crucial for developing proactive strategies for enhancing the democratic performance of specific governance networks.
|Place of Publication||Roskilde|
|Number of pages||31|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|