State theory (2022) Handbook on Theories of Governance, pp. 77-88.
This chapter reviews some scholarly approaches to governance inspired by different accounts of the state and state power and proposes a new approach based on the strategic-relational approach. It assesses the unproductive distinction between state-centric and society-centric perspectives, evaluates whether a governance-centric perspective is a feasible alternative, and then proposes an approach to state power building on the work of Gramsci and Foucault. It defines state power in terms of “government + governmentality in the shadow of hierarchy” and relates this to the idea of metagovernance and collibration. The chapter ends with five remarks on the scope for mutual dialogue and enrichment between a state-theoretical agenda on governance and a governance-theoretical agenda on the state. © Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing 2022.