Academic journal article Alternatives: Global, Local, Political

Remodeling the Transnational Political Realm: Partnerships, Best-Practice Schemes, and the Digitalization of Governance

Academic journal article Alternatives: Global, Local, Political

Remodeling the Transnational Political Realm: Partnerships, Best-Practice Schemes, and the Digitalization of Governance

Article excerpt

Drawing on theories of governance and governmentality, this article investigates the growing array of transnational organizational forms that create, share, and provide knowledge and expertise about various aspects of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and e-modernization. It analyzes the characteristics and role of transnational partnerships and transnational best-practice schemes. These organizational forms, viewed as instantiations of soft-governance techniques of agency and performance, are illustrated by examples based on the authors' field-work: the World Bank-initiated Global Knowledge Partnership, the Balanced E-Government Index (BEGIX) launched by the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the Stockholm Challenge. Such transnational forms aim to enhance participation and empowerment while promoting competition and self-discipline at the level of organizations and individuals. In addition, transnational partnerships and best-practice schemes constitute nodes through which the accomplished actors of these emergent organizational forms communicate, flow, mix, and create alliances on a transnational scale, while capitalizing on them in domestic and other organizational realms. Keywords: governmentality, transnational, best-practice, partnerships, ICTs, e-modernization.

**********

During the last two decades, new ICTs such as the Internet and cellular phones have become an intrinsic part of economic, political, and social life. What is perhaps less recognized is that this process has been premised on important changes in ideas and practices of governance. (1) In this article, we explore the correlation between the advent of the new ICTs and changes of governance. More specifically, we conduct our discussion against the backdrop of two important dimensions of governance reorganization in most parts of the world since the 1980s: the managerial reform of the public sector and the globalization of politics.

The first of these dimensions refers to the promotion of markets and the introduction of private-sector management in public-sector organizations. Most governments and their bureaucracies have tried to move away from what reformers have identified as a rule-based, ineffective, bureaucratic, and unresponsive mindset toward one of efficiency, responsiveness, and entrepreneurialism. (2) The success of these reform visions is a subject of heated debate. But their power to dominate the agenda is undisputed, and is, we argue, related to the general reconstruction of social life on a market basis and, by implication, to the reconfiguration of the roles of private and public authorities.

The second dimension, the globalization of politics, refers to the proliferation of various transnational organizational forms that create, share, and provide knowledge and expertise about different issue areas. These organizational forms share two central features. On the one hand, they bring together national public-sector organizations, international organizations and networks, private companies, and civil-society organizations in loosely structured and crosscutting setups that transcend established distinctions between public and private domains and domestic and foreign domains. On the other hand, as peddlers of knowledge and expertise about specific issue areas, these transnational organizational forms exercise a particular kind of authority. This authority is premised on the involvement of their members and target groups and on performance measurement of these actors. (3) Further, the authority of these transnational forms is soft, in the sense that it rests on their ability to shape the preferences of others through interaction, dialogue, and persuasion, as opposed to hard power, which has been associated with command power and coercion. (4)

Two distinct organizational arrangements, transnational partnerships and transnational best-practice schemes, embody these dynamics particularly well. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.