Key Concepts in Governance provides a clear introduction to the technical concepts and policies of contemporary governance through short definitional essays. Each entry features a snapshot definition of the concept, a contextualization of the concept, an overview of relevant debates, and a guide to further reading. The book also includes a substantial introductory chapter which gives an overview of governance studies as a whole, orientating and guiding the reader around the issues that the concepts address.
The concept of a ‘system’ is very abstract. It can be little more than a metaphor used to describe any complex set of parts forming a larger whole. At its most abstract, the concept of a system is thus just a way of thinking about macro-structures in terms of the relations of their units. It breaks down objects into their parts and the relations between these parts, often in an attempt to facilitate problem-solving. This concept of a system can be found in diverse academic subjects, including biology, chemistry, and engineering, as well as economics and political science. For example, some biologists think of humans as a system composed of [Page 203]subsystems (such as the vital organs), each of which performs a process ...