Publications of S. Svensson

The use and abuse of participatory governance by populist governments

Populists claim that they alone represent the voice of the people against a corrupt elite. We argue that populist governments augment this claim by appropriating and manipulating the language and methods of participatory governance. Advancing an analytical framework on content, process, effect, resource efficiency and communication dimensions, we illustrate these arguments with the National Consultations in Hungary in 2010–18. Our conclusion for the case study is that these exercises were deeply flawed for securing popular input into policy-making. The implication for scholarship is that participatory governance enthusiasts need to be more aware not just of the uses, but also the abuses, of public input, while scholars of populism should pay more attention to the actual policies and practices populist actors employ to gain or maintain power.

Regulating Collaboration: The Legal Framework of Collaborative Governance in Ten European Countries

Many scholars have considered when and why collaboration between government agencies and societal actors occurs. This article argues that a simple but largely overlooked answer to these questions is that a formal legal or administrative requirement to do so is in place. Therefore, the objective is to substantiate whether there are legal requirements to collaborate and in what type of source and context this obligation applies in ten European countries. The main finding is that collaboration is underpinned by an extensive range of legal requirements in Europe, although imposing these requirements is generally not the main objective.

The fuzzy concept of collaborative governance: A systematic review of the state of the art

This article contributes to the consolidation and synthesis of scholarship on collaborative governance by expanding our knowledge of how the term is used in the academic literature and policy documents in a range of European countries. It adds value to existing reviews of the field by conducting a systematic literature review on a corpus of over 700 article abstracts and a traditional literature review identifying five key analytical dimensions. The article also provides an exploratory analysis of grey literature hitherto outside the purview of researchers and considers the linguistic and cultural connotations that alter the meaning of the term when translated into new contexts in ten EU countries. Findings indicate heterogeneity and fuzziness in the way the concept is used. The article argues that explicit positions with respect to five main analytical dimensions and taking into account national connotations that the term carries across political systems would inject more clarity into the academic discourse. This, in turn, will help policymakers to make informed use of the concept, especially in multi-national policy-making arenas.