Reflections on experimentalist governance

John Erik Fossum has published the article 'Reflections on experimentalist governance' in Regulation and governance 6(3).

The article is part of a symposium edited by Sandra Eckert and Tanja A. Börzel, that critically engages with the volume 'Experimentalist Governance in the European
Union: Towards a New Architecture
' (2010), edited by Charles F. Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin.


Fossum's article critically engages with Sabel and Zeitlin's important notion of experimentalist governance (EG). It is cast as a “recursive process of provisional goal-setting and revision based on learning from the comparison of alternative approaches to advancing them in different contexts.” This is a useful heuristic device to capture policymaking and implementation in complex, dynamic, and highly diverse political entities.

This article discusses the micro-foundations underpinning EG, how it relates to hierarchical modes of governing, and how well it captures the distinctive traits of the EU. It also discusses EG from a democratic perspective. In democratic terms EG is understood as a form of direct deliberative polyarchy. This article notes that the question of EG's contribution to democratization cannot, however, be adequately addressed unless we pay more systematic attention to representation and representative democracy.


Full info

John Erik Fossum
Reflections on experimentalist governance

Regulation & Governance
Volume 6, Issue 3, pages 394–400, September 2012
DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-5991.2012.01158.x


Published Sep. 28, 2012 11:46 AM - Last modified Nov. 6, 2013 3:06 PM