Governance and networks at the limits of representation

Thomas J. Catlaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Integrating literatures from public administration and social and political theory, this article provides a critical analysis of the political theory of democratic network governance. The article contends that critics and advocates alike have misrecognized the potentially transformative logic of networks by tacitly embedding their arguments and research in the taken-for-granted assumptions of representative government and its determination of political community as "the People." This determination carries with it a number of assumptions and biases that are especially problematic in the contemporary world. The article argues that a new metaphor of and new style for imagining political community can be extracted from the network and that this can open a new avenue for reconsidering the nature of public administrative practice and pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-498
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Governance
  • Imagined community
  • Networks
  • Representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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