Polyphonic Supervision: Meta-governance in Denmark

Anders la Cour, Holger Højlund

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article will show how Luhmann's concept of functional differentiation makes it possible to analyse how the government draws various stakeholders into governable terrain through the use of different functional systems. The article takes its outset in a recent reform aimed at a renewal of the authority relations between the municipalities and the non-governmental housing associations in Denmark. In doing so, the article provides an example of how the government uses meta-governance to define several interactive arenas for the various stakeholders. The article concludes that meta-governance means neither that the government retains its old power at the centre of society nor that it is hollowed out. Instead, we have to realize that the government's capacity as an organizer relies on many other forms of media beyond power.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)148-162
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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