October 2, 2011 in Books
Now in paperback: Authoritative Governance: Policy Making in the Age of Mediatization (Oxford University Press, hb 2009, pb 2011)
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 ‘mediatised’ 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.
The argument of the book is that in the age of mediatisation governance needs to be ‘performed’. Hajer describes a genuinely new authoritative governance that breaks with existing interpretations. He demonstrates new 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.