Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Pessimism of the modernist intellect versus optimism of the democratic will: the interpretive school of governance

Marinetto, Michael John Paul ORCID: 2012. Pessimism of the modernist intellect versus optimism of the democratic will: the interpretive school of governance. Comparative European Politics 10 , pp. 616-624. 10.1057/cep.2011.32

Full text not available from this repository.


There is a tension between pessimism and optimism running through Mark Bevir's thesis in Democratic Governance. The intellectual apprehension on display is directed, in the main, at the state of the modern democratic polity. Indeed, Bevir's Democratic Governance is characterised by, on the one hand, a pessimistic unease about the condition of today's increasingly fragmented and unaccountable polity. This article examines the chief sources of Bevir's pessimism. These concerns over the present state of democracy are informed by Bevir's theoretical approach to modern democratic processes and institutions. In this respect, Democratic Governance draws upon the Anglo-governance school, associated with political scientists such as Rod Rhodes, Martin Smith, as well as Bevir himself. At the same time, he goes beyond Anglo-governance, offering a more philosophical appreciation of governance. In what I term the Interpretive School of Governance, Bevir conducts an historical anthropology of the cultural imperialism of modernist thinking in the public sphere, of which the pursuit of joined-up governance is one such example. The dominance of modernism, with its faith in positivist empiricism and scientific models, has further augmented the fragmentation, cynicism and democratic alienation surrounding the modern polity. On the other hand, Bevir hankers for an optimistic vision of a democratic tomorrow that is better than today's democracy. The alternative is a form of participatory democracy, which is pluralistic both philosophically and in terms of policy practice. For reasons which are considered, this more optimist vision is sketched out rather than outlined in detail.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Interpretive governance; Pessimism; Fragmented polity; Joined-up governance
Additional Information: Symposium
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 1472-4790
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 09:01

Citation Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item