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Claus Offe



Ungovernability is a concept that has been used to describe conditions of institutional insufficiency with the potential of political crisis and subsequent institutional change. The condition of ungovernability results from institution allowing for the rise of kinds of problems and conflicts that these very same institutions later turn out to be incapable of processing in orderly and routinized ways, such as in models of endogenous demand overload. The question whether and when a state has become ungovernable involves a normative component. This component serves to define the border between "adequate/tolerable " and "insufficient " levels of the capacity of a system of political institutions to govern. Typically, however, the location of this border seems to be rather uncontroversial. If states are chronically paralyzed in their ability to make and enforce laws, provide basic services, or resolve major conflicts through adequate institutional means, most people, including state actors themselves, are likely to agree that a condition of defective state capacity is present which must be healed through institutional reform. Ungovernability is a peculiar concept. It has been used both by academic political sociologists and by journalists and politicians; it has played a role in New Left as well as neo-conservativ

Year: 2013
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