The Creative Disorder of Measuring Governance and Stateness

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Measures of governance and stateness have grown substantially in number over the recent decade and gained greater importance in building public discourses and orienting decision-making. Yet there seems to be little agreement on what exactly these measures represent. This paper claims that the proliferation of metrics can only be understood against the conceptual hybridity and indeterminacy in which the notions of governance and stateness have in recent decades become increasingly entangled. In sum, the nébuleuse of governance metrics reflects the nébuleuse of governing actors and structures informing this process. To frame this “creative disorder”, the first part of the chapter introduces the current debate on measuring governance and stateness. It then explores the semantic fields of the two concepts, while the third one provides an overview on existing measures and methodological questions. The fourth part explores normative demands and policy prescriptions linked to this production. The fifth section analyses in depth three different measures: The Rule of Law Index (RoLI), the Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGIs), and the State Fragility Index (SFI). The sixth part concludes by summarising the relevance of exploring both conceptual and normative challenges in production of these measures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Indicators in Global Governance
Number of pages137
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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