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Authoritative governance - Maarten A. Hajer

9780199595679
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Title
Authoritative governance - policy-making in the age of mediatization
Author
Maarten A. Hajer
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20110303

The role of the media has become a central part of politics and policy in the twenty-first century. That dominance has led many to suggest a trend of 'dumbing down': the privileging of style over content. In this provocative new book, Maarten Hajer takes issue with the 'dumbing down' thesis both on theoretical and empirical grounds. He aims to show how authoritative governance remains possible in crisis driven circumstances and a highly 'mediatized' world.The book elaborates a communicative understanding of authority, which, the author argues, can create a new basis for authoritative governance in a world marked by political and institutional fragmentation. Extending his discourse-analytical framework, Hajer uses both discursive and dramaturgical methods to study policymakers in their struggle for authority. Three detailed case studies-the plans to rebuild Ground Zero, the aftermath of the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, and the recent role ofthe British Food Standards Agency -provide a wealth of detail of the dynamics of authority in today's mediatized polity and bring out the peculiar role that crises now play.The argument of the book is that in the age of mediatization governance needs to be 'performed'. Hajer describes a genuinely new authoritative governance that breaks with existing interpretations. He demonstrates ways in which the traditional government of standing institutions and notions of network governance can be combined in actively creating relations with a variety of publics.

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Maarten Hajer, author of the celebrated The Politics of Environmental Discourse - Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process (Oxford UP, 1995).

Review from previous edition Hajer encourages scholars of politics, policy, and communication to rethink the nature of authority in mediated democracies and illuminates the key dilemma of authority in our age. Political authority is no longer conveyed by large numbers of citizens on the basis of shared memberships and allegiances. It is constructed through complex media performances aimed at multiple fragmenting audiences.


Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science and Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Authoritative Governance shows it's not so much that politicians have suddenly become more democratic, but rather the old vestments of election, party, and expertise fail to confer legitimacy; they are struggling to constantly re-create the authority they need to govern. Hajer's new book is a must-read for students of authority who want to understand real responses to contemporary legitimation crises and for policy-makers facing distrustful publics.


Archon Fung, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Maarten Hajer's stories of politicians as performers enacting dramas that imbue governance with meaning open novel and exciting ways of understanding how authoritative governance is possible.


Rod Rhodes, Professor of Government, University of Tasmania and Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University.

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Communication in public administration.|Political planning.|Mass media - Political aspects.|Legitimacy of governments.|Government publicity - Public opinion.|Public administration - Press coverage.
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
208

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