What governs governance, and how does it evolve? The sociology of governance-in-action

Nick J. Fox, Katie J. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Governance addresses a wide range of issues including social, economic and political continuity, security and integrity, individual and collective safety and the liberty and rights to self-actualization of citizens. Questions to be answered include how governance can be achieved and sustained within a social context imbued with cultural values and in which power is distributed unevenly and dynamically, and how governance impacts on individuals and institutions. Drawing on Gramscian notions of hegemony and consent, and recent political science literatures on regulation and meta-regulation, this paper develops a sociological model of governance that emphasizes a dynamic and responsive governance in action. Empirical data from a study of pharmaceutical governance is used to show how multiple institutions and actors are involved in sustaining effective governance. The model addresses issues of how governance is sustained in the face of change, why governance of practices varies from setting to setting, and how governance is achieved without legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-538
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
Early online date22 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


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