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The relationship between government and civil society: a neo-Gramscian framework for analysis

Raf Pauly (UGent) , Filip De Rynck (UGent) and Bram Verschuere (UGent)
Author
Organization
Project
Civil Society Innovation in Flanders
Abstract
This paper presents a neo-Gramscian framework for the analysis of the relationship between government and civil society. We argue that the influence of ‘post-traditional’ theories of modernisation on ‘networks’ and ‘network society’ is crucial in understanding the concept of ‘governance’. This influence has led to an exaggeration of the displacement of hierarchy by networks and of the novel nature of governance reforms. Additionally, it can be argued that the notion of ‘governance networks’ is part of a neoliberal hegemony and that the concept is thus more ideological than analytical. This critique on the neoliberal dimension of the governance concept was also forcefully argued by Jonathan S. Davies (2011a, 2011b, 2012, 2014b), who presented a Gramscian alternative for the analysis of government and governance. We will follow a less orthodox Gramscian path, but one that is nonetheless aimed at offering an alternative of the dominant network view on governance. We will present how the relationship between government and civil society can be seen as an interplay between coercion and hegemony. As part of the CSI Flanders research project we will then explore three dimensions of this relationship in closer detail: the ideological dimension, the institutional arrangements, and the street-level strategies. These three dimensions will be further operationalised in the following phases of the research project, especially in a large-scale survey of Flemish CSOs and representatives of governments, and selected in-depth studies of Flemish central and local governments.
Keywords
public administration, government, gramsci, civil society

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Citation

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Chicago
Pauly, Raf, Filip De Rynck, and Bram Verschuere. 2016. “The Relationship Between Government and Civil Society: a neo-Gramscian Framework for Analysis.” In European Group for Public Administration, Proceedings.
APA
Pauly, R., De Rynck, F., & Verschuere, B. (2016). The relationship between government and civil society: a neo-Gramscian framework for analysis. European Group for Public Administration, Proceedings. Presented at the European Group for Public Administration.
Vancouver
1.
Pauly R, De Rynck F, Verschuere B. The relationship between government and civil society: a neo-Gramscian framework for analysis. European Group for Public Administration, Proceedings. 2016.
MLA
Pauly, Raf, Filip De Rynck, and Bram Verschuere. “The Relationship Between Government and Civil Society: a neo-Gramscian Framework for Analysis.” European Group for Public Administration, Proceedings. 2016. Print.
@inproceedings{8065871,
  abstract     = {This paper presents a neo-Gramscian framework for the analysis of the relationship between government and civil society. We argue that the influence of {\textquoteleft}post-traditional{\textquoteright} theories of modernisation on {\textquoteleft}networks{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}network society{\textquoteright} is crucial in understanding the concept of {\textquoteleft}governance{\textquoteright}. This influence has led to an exaggeration of the displacement of hierarchy by networks and of the novel nature of governance reforms. Additionally, it can be argued that the notion of {\textquoteleft}governance networks{\textquoteright} is part of a neoliberal hegemony and that the concept is thus more ideological than analytical. This critique on the neoliberal dimension of the governance concept was also forcefully argued by Jonathan S. Davies (2011a, 2011b, 2012, 2014b), who presented a Gramscian alternative for the analysis of government and governance. We will follow a less orthodox Gramscian path, but one that is nonetheless aimed at offering an alternative of the dominant network view on governance. We will present how the relationship between government and civil society can be seen as an interplay between coercion and hegemony. As part of the CSI Flanders research project we will then explore three dimensions of this relationship in closer detail: the ideological dimension, the institutional arrangements, and the street-level strategies. These three dimensions will be further operationalised in the following phases of the research project, especially in a large-scale survey of Flemish CSOs and representatives of governments, and selected in-depth studies of Flemish central and local governments.},
  author       = {Pauly, Raf and De Rynck, Filip and Verschuere, Bram},
  booktitle    = {European Group for Public Administration, Proceedings},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Utrecht},
  pages        = {31},
  title        = {The relationship between government and civil society: a neo-Gramscian framework for analysis},
  year         = {2016},
}