Premises and Promises of Associative Governance

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Abstract

This chapter elaborates on this edited volume’s explorations of associative governance in Scandinavia, through bottom-up processes of self-organized and voluntary participation, and top-down processes of authoritative incorporation through government, as well as the manifold interstices in-between. It is unfolded how this approach can offer valuable insights, both empirically and theoretically. Empirically, a digest of the empirical analyses identifies three phases of associative governance: anti-corporatist emergence of associations around the “Age of Associations” around 1850–1900, development of neo-corporatism around 1900–1970, and processes of neoliberalism and anti-corporatism thereafter. Theoretically, the chapter elaborates on contributions in the landscape of associational thinking, including variants of associative democracy, neo-corporatism, and recent rethinking of governance through associations. Moving beyond a “sector understanding” of civil society, we argue how a Hegelian approach to civil society – bürgerliche Gesellschaft – is more fruitful in comprehending Nordic societal development, viewing civil society as co-produced by the state, and includes the market economy. The chapter concludes with highlighting that while the book has not detected one particular Nordic model of associative governance, the deeply rooted tradition of “combing together” for common purposes, in different and similar variants across Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, calls for further theoretical and empirical attention to “the associative”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssociative Governance in Scandinavia : Organizing Societies by “Combining Together”
EditorsAnker Brink Lund, Haldor Byrkjeflot, Søren Christensen
Number of pages35
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date2024
Pages255-289
Chapter9
ISBN (Print)9781032466743, 9781032466767
ISBN (Electronic)9781003382775
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024
SeriesNordic Studies in a Global Context

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