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1. Conditions of success for effective and legitimate governance

The SFB 700 persues the aim of setting up an empirically founded theory. Based on our preceding research we have identified four factors that are key to success or failure of governance in areas of limited statehood:

The institutionalization of a governance-constellation fosters predictability and compliance among participating actors (e.g. the accuracy and bindingness of rules or the monitoring of processes). It’s ability of institutionalized learning enhances flexible adaptation to local contexts and changing environments. A complementary relationship between formal and informal institutions increases the effectiveness of governance, while an inconsistency of formal rules and informal practices often contributes significantly to the breakdown of governance. Finally, embedding governance into meta-governance institutions ( i.e. institutions of coordinating different actors) can prevent norm collisions as well as redundancies.

In our areas of investigation, state bodies are neither able to effectively enforce political decisions nor to assert a monopoly on the use of force. Actors of governance have to cope with routine abuses of office in local government agencies. Nevertheless, successful governance regularly depends on particular state functions, for example, infrastructure services or the management of non-state governance. Functional equivalents to the state's “shadow of hierarchy” are the hierarchical control by external actors; the looming absence of political order (which motivates non-state actors to produce collective goods by themselves); as well as anticipated boosts to non-state actors’ reputation.

People affected by governance decisively adjust their actions according to whether or not they approve of a governing actor and whether they consider its governance legitimate. Linked hereto are processes of appropriation, resistance and translation, which in turn substantially affect the effectiveness of governance. In the end, legitimacy and effectiveness form either a virtuous or a vicious cycle, whose inherent mechanisms we aim to investigate (see below).

Social trust is an essential prerequisite for actors to effectively solve dilemmas of collective action. Mutual trust enables actors to demand governance services or to deliver them on their own, and to monitor those responsible. However, collective capacity to act can also reinforce resistance. We investigate how personalized trust affects governance and how generalized trust beyond the local community can be generated.