"Governance" - with its open, soft, decentralised, goal-oriented decision-making style - has extensively changed the modern state's institutional and political structures. It involves not only states, public institutions, international organisations, and courts of law, but also expert groups, NGOs, businesses, professional associations, and social movements. Thanks to governance, not only has the distinction between private and public been subject to debate, but so too has the rationale for representation in modern democracy, invented in Europe. At a specifically legal level, one may observe a crisis of vertical authority structures, and especially of law itself, as shown by the increasing tendency to deal with problems through judicial decision-making and consensual settlements. The expansion of "judicial governance" and "contractual governance" at the national and especially international level promotes - as this book argues - a decentralised and varied legal universe, in which the status of the law's traditional normative values is increasingly unstable.
Maria Rosaria Ferrarese teaches Sociology of Law at the University of Cagliari and also teaches at the Higher School of Public Administration in Rome.