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This book presents a critique of dominant governance theories grounded in an understanding of existence as a static, discrete, mechanistic process, while also identifying the failures of theories that assume dynamic alternatives of either a radically collectivist or individualist nature. Relationships between ontology and governance practices are established, drawing upon a wide range of social, political, and administrative theory. Employing the ideal-type method and dialectical analysis to establish meanings, the authors develop a typology of four dominant approaches to governance.

The authors then provide a systematic analysis of each governance approach, thoroughly unpacking and critiquing each one and exploring the relationships and movements among them that engender reform and revolution as well as retrenchment and obfuscation of power dynamics. After demonstrating that each governance approach has fatal flaws within a diverse global context, the authors propose an alternative they call Integrative Governance. As a synthesis of the ideal-types, Integrative Governance is neither individualist nor collectivist, while still maintaining the dynamic character required to accommodate responsiveness to cultural contexts.