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Governance in a glocal society

June 5 – June 7 2023

Utrecht School of Governance Utrecht University
Bijlhouwerstraat 6-8 
3511 ZC Utrecht

Martijn Groenleer (Tilburg University) 
Elena Bondarouk
(Leiden University) 

Course fees

  • Free for NIG members
  • 500,- for non-members from an NIG member institution
  • 750,- for third parties

Note: This information is from the course guide 2023

The various ongoing crises, ranging from the climate crisis to the asylum crisis, make painfully clear how interdependent our societies have become. They confront public decision makers across the globe with unprecedented challenges, with regard to both the direct causes and consequences of the crises, and the short-term and long-term effects and the possibilities for response and reform.

At the same time, these crises illustrate a tension, between the need to, on the one hand, scale up and coordinate across boundaries, and to, on the other hand, develop customized solutions and adapt to local conditions. This tension can be framed in terms of ‘glocality’, i.e., the simultaneous occurrence of processes related to, on the one hand, the globalized nature of our society and to, on the other hand, the increasing attention for what can be called ‘localization’.

In this course, we analyze the linkages across different levels of governance and the relationships among a variety of actors from the perspectives of transboundary and multilevel governance, and related perspectives such as experimentalist, collaborative, network, adaptive and polycentric governance. We describe and juxtapose the various concepts and theories, and identify some of the main developments and trends, in both science and practice.

In particular, we explore the pressures on the central state and its sovereignty – from above and below but also from the side – and the challenges to the state’s autonomy (vis-à-vis global and EU governance institutions and networks), its unity (vis-à-vis subnational authorities such as cities and regions), and its specificity (vis-à-vis independent agencies, private/privatized entities, societal groups and citizens). We look at the implications for politics and administration of the internationalization and deterritorialization of governance arrangements across the globe, as well as the regionalization, decentralization, but also (albeit to a lesser extent) hybridization of such arrangements.

Moreover, we discuss what the interdependency between levels and actors, and the simultaneous necessity for scaling up and tailoring solutions imply for the enforcement of and compliance with policies and rules that address transboundary wicked problems. We examine how coordination is organized in order to come up with a collective, integrated response and how involvement and commitment is induced from all levels and actors.

Finally, we reflect on the issues, dilemmas and challenges that arise in relation to the coordination and collaboration, effectiveness and legitimacy, autonomy and accountability, representation and participation as well as the sovereignty and democracy of existing, emerging and evolving transboundary and multilevel governance arrangements.

After the completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Identify the governance challenges that are characteristic of today’s ‘glocal’ societies;
  • Describe and compare the concepts of glocalization, transboundary and multilevel governance and other related concepts, that have emerged in response to such challenges;
  • Summarize and juxtapose theories of transboundary and multilevel governance and other related theories;
  • Discuss the main developments and trends in both the science and the practice of transboundary and multilevel governance;
  • Apply knowledge acquired on the way transboundary and multilevel governance works to your own research.

Overall, this course aims to create a platform for discussing how the idea of ‘glocality’ and the insights on transboundary and multilevel governance relate to your own research, and preferably also, how they could enrich your research. Above all, we envision creating an academic space where we can learn from and with each other.

The course consists of three days of interactive lectures and discussion sessions, under guidance of Prof. Martijn Groenleer (Tilburg) and Dr. Elena Bondarouk (Leiden).