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The Disoriented State

  • Bas Arts
  • Arnoud Lagendijk
Part of the Environment & Policy book series (ENPO, volume 49)

Abstract

On the basis both the theoretical arguments and the empirical observations presented so far, this chapter introduces the thesis of the ‘disoriented state’. This concept serves as an alternative for the ‘retreated’, ‘hollowed-out’ or ‘dead’ state, as proclaimed by others. The concept pictures the state as being ‘lost’ in a diffuse, multi-scalar and partly unknown geographical setting, and to being ‘uncertain’ about the nature, characteristics, consequences and, hence, governance of complex issues. Paradoxically, the state seems to remain the power container in international and domestic politics, given its abundance of resources, locus of political authority, de jure recognition of national sovereignty, etc. However, it is ‘surrounded’ by: (1) distanced governance arrangements; (2) re-territorialised political spaces; and (3) decentred statehood. While states also promote these changes, through their various neo-liberal programs, they feel plagued by these at the same time. Calls made earlier for more meta-governance, reflexivity and even irony should be seen in this light.

Keywords

State theory governmentality disoriented state meta-governance territoriality policy practices 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bas Arts
    • 1
  • Arnoud Lagendijk
    • 2
  1. 1.Chair of the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy GroupUniversity of WageningenWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Spatial PlanningRadboud University of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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