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    Partial support for the preparation of this article is acknowledged from the U.S. Agency for International Development's Center for Democracy and Governance through the Implementing Policy Change Project, Phase 2. The views expressed are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to USAID. An earlier version was presented at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, 25th Annual Conference, New York City, November 7–9, 1996.


The emphasis in this article is on the trends which speak of governance rather than government. Governance refers to the role of citizens in the policy process and how groups within a society organize to make and implement decisions on matters of great concern. The focus is on democratic governance as taking place through networks in developing countries. These networks are referred to as state-civil society networks and are defined as cross-sectoral collaborations in which the view is not of individuals, per se, but rather of individual actors who are seen as a connected and interdependent whole. Three case studies of such state-civil society networks provide some preliminary lessons which suggest four situational variables for the emergence and success of these networks. These include: regime type, level of trust, legal framework and regulations, and the nature of the policy to be implemented. They also suggest some effective mechanisms and processes based on ad hoc vs formalizedmechanisms, initiation of the network and coordinating linkages.