Towards Accountability in Democratic Network Governance
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Network governance is becoming a dominant governing paradigm. Through this governing form, lateralized, pluricentric, and interconnected public, private, and semi-public actors make policy decisions. The application of power, through the act of governing, becomes departed from traditional democratic accountability mechanisms. Three Canadian cases are explored to make this point: the Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS), the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC). The problem of democratic accountability within network governance is the crux of my thesis. This thesis examines how those granted power, in a networked governing context, could be held to account. Existing approaches to this problem are limited due to a reliance on the idea of accountability as hierarchical and bureaucratic in nature, and as having a unidirectional ‘principal-agent’ foundation. This thesis moves the discussion towards a postliberal re-theorizing of new accountability frameworks that democratically qualify governance networks.