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Fairclough, N. "Governance, partnership and participation: cooperation and conflict"

Fairclough, N. "Governance, partnership and participation: cooperation and conflict"

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Published by Melonie A. Fullick
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Published by: Melonie A. Fullick on Oct 23, 2011
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 Norman FaircloughGovernance, partnership and participation: cooperation and conflict 
What I want to do is approach the theme of the conference, “Dialogue – cooperation andconflict” – by way of the theoretical and methodological framework I am using in mycurrent research, which is focused on aspects of social change – “transition” – in Centraland Eastern Europe, especially Romania. This framework is centred upon critical discourseanalysis, but it has an interdisciplinary character – or as I prefer to put it, “trans-disciplinary”. The issues I am addressing in this work are multi-dimensional, involving for instance economic, political and cultural issues, and always involving the
relationshipbetween
discourse and other elements of social life. So the approach needs to beinterdisciplinary. “Trans-disciplinary” research is for me a variety of interdisciplinaryresearch where the objective is to develop one’s theory and methodology through dialoguewith other disciplines. For instance, the category of “recontextualization2 which originatesin Basil Bernstein’s sociology of pedagogy has itself been “recontextualized” within CDA,has become a category within CDA, through one might say a “translation” of it intoestablished discourse-analytical categories including “genre” and “discourse” (Chouliaraki& Fairclough 1999).The particular issue I will address is changes in “governance” which are taking place onan international scale – changes which are evident in Britain but also in Romania, andwhich are being disseminated internationally by for instance the European Union. Therelevance of this issue here is that they involve questions of dialogue and of the relationship between cooperation and conflict in dialogue, as I will try to show. These changes aresometimes referred to as a move from “government” to “governance”, or from ahierarchical to a network mode of governance. They revolve around the idea of “partnership”, the co-involvement – and cooperation – of the different interests or “players”or “stakeholders” in the governance and regulation of particular public (as well as private)domains. They include what New Labour in Britain at one stage referred to as “joined-upgovernment” – for instance, ensuring cooperation between all relevant agencies (nationalgovernment, local government, social services, voluntary organisations, business, and soforth) in combating “social exclusion”. They are associated with ideas of “participatorydemocracy”, and often include the “participation” or “consultation” of citizens who aretargeted by or affected by the relevant policies. They are also associated with
 
 Norman Fairclough
“decentralisation” and “devolution” of governance. I’m going to use for convenience theterm “partnership governance” for this form of governance (Balloch & Taylor 2001).I think it is important to distinguish at the outset between the strategy for partnershipgovernance and “actually existing” partnership governance. On the one hand, there is astrategy for changing governance in the partnership direction, on the other hand there arerather diverse and uneven forms in which this form of governance is implemented. Thestrategy for partnership governance has a significantly discursive character – it includes a particular discourse of governance (which the word “governance” is a part of), as well asnarratives of past and present issues and problems of governance, and imaginaries for their solution. Actually the situation is more complicated because the move towards partnershipgovernance is controversial for instance with respect to whether partnerships are really between equals – and there is a proliferation of strategies, discourses and narratives. But Ithink one can generally identify a dominant strategy.It is clear that in dealing with these changes in governance we are dealing substantivelywith questions of discourse. First as I said because strategies for change include discoursesand narratives. In so far as these strategies are implemented, put into practice, discoursesmay be “operationalized” “enacted” as new institutions, new relations betweeninstitutions, new procedures, and so forth; ‘inculcated” as new ways of being – newidentities; and indeed “materialized” as new ways of organising space and time. But this“operationalization”
also
involves questions of discourse: the “enactment” of discoursesincludes their enactment in new forms of communicative interaction, new
 genres
, includingnew forms of dialogue – and, importantly as I shall argue, new
relations between
genres;the “inculcation” of discourses includes new communicative
 styles
such as new styles of leaders and managers, including for instance one distinctive “character” of partnershipgovernance the “facilitator”. So questions of discourse arise both for strategies of  partnership governance
and 
their implementation in actual forms of partnership governance(Fairclough 2003, 2005a, 2005b).The significance of discourse is to an extent recognised in literature on change ingovernance. What discourse analysis can add within transdisciplinary research on thismatter is: first, theoretical clarification of relations between discourse and other socialelements, including what I just referred to as the “operationalization” of discourses, and thesocially constructive effects of discourses; and second, method – ways of analysing textsand interactions. Having said that, I shall not be proposing specific analytical methods for analysing what one might see as the dialectic between cooperation and conflict in dialogue.I think it is fruitful to begin by locating changes in governance within broader processesof social change, in order to contextualize them satisfactorily. This will help in definingcoherent
objects of research
for this research topic on a trans-disciplinary basis, and indefining the particular contribution of discourse analysis to researching these research
 
Governance, partnership and participation: cooperation and conflict 
objects in terms of specifically discursive facets of change in governance, and their relationto these changes overall. So I shall approach dialogue in what may seem – and indeed is - asomewhat circuitous way.
1. Cultural political economy
In my recent research on “transition” in CEE, I have worked with a framework based uponwhat is being called the “new” or “cultural” political economy (Jessop 2002, Pickles &Smith 1998). Political economy differs from classical economics in asserting that there arenon-economic conditions for economies and economic change (Polanyi 1944, Sayer 1995).“Cultural” political economy claims that these conditions are not only political but alsocultural, and include discourse: the “cultural turn” is also a turn to discourse. Jessop (2002)is a political economist and a theorist of governance and the state whose version of cultural political economy incorporates CDA, and I have been seeking to develop this approachfrom a specifically discourse analytical perspective (Fairclough 2005a, 2005b,forthcoming).The versions of cultural political economy I draw upon incorporate the “regulationtheory” view that a socio-economic order is constituted through a particular set of relations – a “fix” – between a particular form of economy in the narrow sense and a particular formof governance (a “regime of accumulation” and “a mode of regulation”), but add that the“fix” also includes cultural and discursive elements. A “fix” is an accommodation, a way of articulating together. The key point with respect to socio-economic change is this: it is amatter of change in relations between institutions, and between institutions and the“lifeworld”, which ties economy, governance, culture and discourse together in new ways.As I have already indicated, we need to also bring in strategies: in times of crisis or instability, different social groups develop different and often competing strategies for anew “fix”.From this perspective, the move towards “partnership governance” is regarded as oneelement in particular strategies for a new “fix”. Let me give a concrete example. TheEuropean Union adopted at the Lisbon Council (2000) a “strategic goal”: “to become themost competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. In thesection of the Lisbon Declaration on “Putting Decisions into Practice”, changes ingovernance are indicated which are associated with implementation of the strategic goal.The changes envisaged and advocated are partly changes in the relationship between scales

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