This article proposes a new theoretical concept of second-order contracts for a better understanding of how the state fulfills its role as metagovernor. While the literature does an adequate job of developing the concept of metagovernance, it has been less effective in showing how metagovernance establishes a new type of relationship between government and governance. With the introduction of the concept of second-order contracts, the article shows how the state governs interactive governance from a distance in order to position the various stakeholders into a specific governable terrain. This concept is then applied to a recent reform of the steering relations between municipalities and housing associations in Denmark. In doing so, the article provides an example of a second-order contract in a specific case of metagovernance, and the way that it defines the interactive arena of the various stakeholders.
- Interactive governance