GOVERNANCE WITHOUT GOVERNMENT? THE CASE OF THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL

Authors

  • STEPHEN BELL,

    1. Stephen Bell and Andrew Hindmoor are in the Department of Politics and International Relations, School of Political Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
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  • ANDREW HINDMOOR

    1. Stephen Bell and Andrew Hindmoor are in the Department of Politics and International Relations, School of Political Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
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Abstract

The relationship between state and non-state actors has been the subject of extensive debate within the governance literature. During this time two influential but very different accounts of governance have emerged: a society-centred account which talks of governance without government and a state-centric perspective which maintains that governance largely occurs by and through governments. There are of course alternative and more nuanced positions on offer. These two have nevertheless served to frame the debate around governance by engendering a zero-sum understanding of the relationship between state and non-state actors which obscures the way in which the presence of non-state actors can enhance the policy capacities of state actors and vice versa. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has been lauded as an exemplar of governance without government and has indeed, on occasions, had to overcome the indifference or even outright hostility of governments. But the society-centred account does not do justice to the range of very different and sometimes mutually beneficial relationships between the FSC and state actors.

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