Deconstructing governance: Perspectives in post-positivist thinking

Wilkins, Andrew. 2021. Deconstructing governance: Perspectives in post-positivist thinking. In: Michael A. Peters and Richard Heraud, eds. Encyclopedia of Educational Innovation. Singapore: Springer. ISBN 9789811322624 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In this chapter I demonstrate the application of using different theoretical approaches to frame meanings and practices of governance. While there are clear overlaps and synergies in the development of these approaches given their shared post-positivist orientations, they are nonetheless distinctive through making possible different kinds of analytical and political work. Therefore, each theoretical position is discussed separately in order to make explicit their epistemological and normative commitments. These approaches are discussed in turn and include:

i. A Gramscian approach to governance (Davies 2012);
ii. A state-centric approach to governance (Pierre and Guy Peters 2005);
iii. A deliberative-interactive approach to governance (Kooiman 2003).
iv. A interpretivist-constructivist approach to governance (Bevir and Rhodes 2006); and
v. A governmentality approach to governance (Millar and Rose 2008).

In what follows I discuss the role of governance as a meta-narrative in education research. Following this I describe the historical context for the emergence of the concept of governance and its relationship to globalisation. In the final section I use applied theory to show how governance can be conceptualised from the position of different analytical orientations and normative commitments. I conclude by outlining the aims and benefits of deconstructing governance from the perspective of different theoretical positions.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):


Governance; governmentality; statism; interactionism; constructivism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


25 February 2021Accepted
19 October 2021Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Jun 2021 09:19

Last Modified:

19 Oct 2023 01:26


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