Collaborative Governance: Concept, Applications, and Cases

Research Paper by Xabier Barandiaran Irastorza



Collaborative governance models applied to deliberation and political action re-configure the traditional ways of exercising politics.

Discontent with the functioning of representative democracies has led to a widespread questioning of the definition, content, procedures, and results of this system of political representation. In this context, a governance model emerges as one of the possibilities to redefine the field of politics and its internal operating procedures. This article addresses first the concept of collaborative governance as a mechanism to change the relationship between politics and society. To that end, the article presents two main approaches for its implementation. The first is oriented toward the management and provision of services by public administrations and the second is aimed towards the deliberation and decision-making by governments. Secondly, the article presents the case of Etorkizuna Eraikiz (Building the Future), a collaborative governance initiative of the Government of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, designed as a model for an innovative and specific means of understanding, applying, and representing an open and collaborative governance. The implementation of this model shows how the existence of contexts that favor the concurrence of different participants interacting cooperatively can strengthen the ties and links between governments and citizens, thereby demonstrating that collaboration and intermediation between the public sphere and other spheres of social life is increasingly necessary and occurs with small steps and setbacks that result in political decisions.


About the author

Xabier Barandiaran Irastorza holds a degree in Political Science and Sociology and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Deusto. He has been Visiting Researcher at Kellogg College of the University of Oxford (2012-2014). He is currently Professor in the Department of Social and Human Sciences at the University of Deusto. His main areas of research focus on political communication, public innovation, governance, and social capital.

#governance model #collaborative governance #public administrations #citizenship #deliberation #decisionmaking #Gipuzkoa