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Evolutionary Governance Theory (EGT) is theoretical framework for analyzing and explaining governance and its evolution. It is an approach that addresses the complex and non-linear nature of governance. EGT is different from other theoretical approaches in the sense that it recognizes that governance and its elements are constantly changing in interplay with each other. It places emphasis on the co-evolution between discourses, actors and institutions. Therewith it offers a perspective on the way institutions, markets and societies evolve. It builds on a broad range of theoretical sources that includes Systems theory, Post structuralism, Institutional-economics, Actor–network theory and Development studies. EGT offers a framework for understanding how actors, subjects, objects, formal and informal institutions, and knowledge are in a continuous process of co-evolution, how different dependencies influence the course of evolution, and how different evolutionary pathways are created and influencing each other’s development. Within EGT social systems theory is compatible with a version of discourse theory, largely in line with the Michel Foucault tradition, while also offering a place for actors and their strategizing.

Evolutionary Governance Theory links up with the literature on social-ecological and complex-adaptive systems, with an emphasis on the processes and mechanisms that drive social evolution.

2.2.2 ARGUMENTATIVE THEORY (HERBERT GOTTWEIS): Argumentative theories of governance focus on the constitutive forces and formative conditions for the emergence and operation of particular governance regimes. Argumentative approaches towards governance share an emphasis on language as a key feature of any policy process and thus as a necessary key component of governance and policy analysis. Argumentative policy analysis links post-positivist epistemology with social theory and methodology and encompasses theoretical approaches such as discourse analysis, post-structuralist approaches, frame analysis, and interpretative policy analysis. Although these different approaches are hardly synonymous, they nevertheless share the special attention they give to argumentation and language and the process of utilizing, mobilizing, and weighing arguments and signs in the interpretation and praxis of policy making and governance (Fischer 2003.) This epistemological orientation is critical of the understanding that institutions of governance are not simply out there to be found by policymakers or citizens using them. Rather, institutions are themselves constituted through the acts of description or use. In the context of this tradition of thinking, theories of govern mentality and critical discourse theory  also play an important role and have shown that governance is inseparable from argumentation, discourse and the construction of political identity.



According to Nnaemeka (1994), forms of government can be classified into two categories: democratic and authoritarian. As summarized by Gulhati (1990), democracies fall into the following classifications majority party or coalition governments, parliamentary or presidential systems, and proportional representation or single constituency electoral systems. In a more compact classification, Haggard and Kaufman (1989) indicated that democracies may be usefully distinguished according to whether they are “plebiscitary” or “consultative”. In plebiscitary democracy, the political party is needed more for securing the vote than for the representation of interests. Consultative democracy, by contrast, provides institutionalized means for interest groups to influence, if not participate in, the policy process. Authoritarian regimes are also classified into “strong and weak” ones (Haggard and Kaufman, 1989). The two basic regimes types differ fundamentally in the way they exercise power and authority. In liberal democracy, the exercise of power and authority tends, more or less, to be moderated by the rule of law, separation of powers, free elections, institutional pluralism, and respect for fundamental human rights. Authoritarian regimes, by contrast, exercise power and authority arbitrarily. In consequence, they are apt to be politically repressive, and they typically exhibit a relentless drive to perpetuate themselves in power. The interest in exploration of the link between economic situation in the country and the role of the state has grown significantly with the development of governance, and particularly, the so-called ‘good governance’ has moved to the forefront in the debate over development policies (Brinkerhoff and Goldsmith, 2005). According to Brinkerhoff and Goldsmith, (2005), better run public institutions and other constituents of good governance are the most important instruments for fostering economic growth and reducing poverty. In general, governance has become a political catchword during the 1990s (Pierre and Peters, 2000). Kjaer (2004) distinguishes between governance in public administration and public policy, governance in international relations, European Union governance in comparative politics, and good governance as promoted by the World Bank. However, the concept of governance is even much more complicated. As Olowu (2002) noted, the discourse on government has continued even though the definition of the concept remains controversial. However, Kooiman (2000) developed the term societal (or social-political governance), which he argued is the arrangement in which both public and private actors aim at solving societal problems or create societal opportunities, and aim at the care for the societal institutions within which these governing activities take place The role of state on good governance context is re-directed from rowing to steering (Brinkerhoff 2003). The state is in charge of financial control, wise long-term planning, providing an equal welfare and offering a judicial system which upholds the law without bias (Azmat and Coghill 2005).


The concept of governance is not in any way new. It is commonly used in contemporary political and academic discourse. It is a generic concept. In some analysis, governance is no more than a loosely conceived intuitive and tangible idea (Jerome, 2004). The World Bank (1992) defines governance as the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development. This definition merely focuses attention on the economic and social perspective, thus making it restrictive. It is the use of political authority and exercise of control over a society and the management of its resources for social and economic development (Landell-Mills and Seregeldin, 1991). This is far more embracing as it represents many dimensions in terms of authority, decision making and other institutional arrangements that are involved.

Poverty has defied a universal definition and has been subject to controversy among social scientists. Thus, whereas some people would want to measure poverty by setting a standard above which poverty ends and below which it begins, others would prefer to treat it as a relative concept to be determined by the prevailing style of living that is reasonable and acceptable among the people of a given society (Nnaemeka, 2013). Obadan (1997) posited that poverty can be viewed from an economic perspective as a situation of low income and or low consumption. This approach has often been used for constructing poverty lines, which represent the values of income or consumption necessary to purchase the minimum standard of nutrition and other necessities of life. Going by this definition, people are said to be poor when their measured standard of living, calculated in terms of their incomes of their consumption pattern, fall below the poverty line. The poverty line is an imaginary index that is used to separate the poor . Many writers assert that there are two main types of poverty. These are absolute poverty and relative poverty. With absolute poverty people generally do not have what they need. They are short of basic foodstuff, shelter, clothing and adequate or sufficient health care. On the other hand just like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, poverty may be viewed to be a subjective term and what is poverty to someone may not be poverty to someone else. What is poverty under relative terms is viewed as being what some people lack in relation to other people. Under relative poverty measures, a mean level of income may be established under which a person may be considered to be living in poverty. Anyone living above that level may be considered not to be living in poverty.” Relative poverty according to Aliyu (2012) “is a situation where an individual or group of people can be said to have access to his or their basic needs, but is comparatively poor among persons or the generally of the community”. There are different definitions of governance put forward by scholars, bilateral and multilateral leading agencies. Lutz and Linder (2004) described governance basically as about how power is exercised and how important decisions in a society are taken. The emphasis is about the institutions and their performance. Ikpi (Oyedele,2012) defines governance as “the total ability to organise, synthesise and direct the various actions of the working parts of government machinery in order for such a government to perform meaningfully, creditably and acceptably”. This means that governance involves both the governing class and the governed people. In essence, good governance must of necessity be democratic, entail popular participation by the people, be accountable and ensure basic freedoms. UNESCAP  defines governance as the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). Since governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented, an analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision-making and implementing the decisions made and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decision. To the World Bank(1991,1992,1994,2000) governance encompasses the form of political regime; the process by which authority is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development; and the capacity of governments to design, formulate and implement policies and discharge functions (Santiso,2001:5; Ogundiya, op cit:203) . In addressing governance, the Bank calls into question the ability, capacity and willingness of political authorities to govern effectively in the common interest. There is heightened awareness that the quality of a country’s governance system is a key determinant of the ability to pursue sustainable economic and social developments (ibid.). The definitions include three common elements that point toward a minimal understanding of governance as

(1) The process (or manner) through which

(2) Power (or authority) is exercised

 (3) To manage the collective affairs of a community (or a country, society, or nation). The six measured indicators of governance according to Sharma (2007) are:

 (a) Voice and accountability;

(b) political stability and lack of violence;

(c) Government effectiveness;

(d) Regulatory quality;

(e) Rule of law; and

(f) Control of corruption.

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