Why do exercises in collaborative governance often witness more impasse than advantage? This paper suggests putting power at center stage and focusing the analysis on the micro level. It is by looking at the daily ‘minutiae’ of collaboration, and at the dynamics (here called flows of power) that they set off, that we can gain insights into failures of collaborative arrangements. To enable a power-sensitive and process-oriented analysis of collaborative governance, the paper develops an analytical framework for the empirical exploration of collaborative governance at the micro level. The framework examines how design choices at the outset of collaboration are re-interpreted, challenged, and transformed by micro-dynamics taking place over the course of the arrangement. The article argues that a process-oriented investigation of how collaboration evolves and unfolds over time elucidates the subtleties of power, which may be overlooked if we only consider outcomes rather than the processes that engender these outcomes. The work is based on an abductive research approach and illustrates the analytical possibilities of the framework by zooming in on an exemplar of a collaborative arrangement for planning the route of a high-voltage electricity line in Germany.
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Molinengo, G. (2022). Flows of power: an analytical framework for the study of collaboration. Critical policy studies, 1-22. doi:10.1080/19460171.2022.2037005.
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