Policy Press


Machines of possibility

By Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen


Jan 16, 2008

Page count

176 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press

Everyone is talking about partnerships: environmental partnerships, social partnerships, public-private partnerships, partnerships between NGOs in Europe and the third world. How did partnerships come to emerge almost everywhere and at almost the same time? What is the inner logic of partnerships? And at what point does that logic begin to break down?

In a highly complex society, the conditions on which agreements are built are constantly changing, demanding, first and foremost, that parties agree to reach an agreement. Partnering is an answer to the growing differentiation and dynamism of the societies in which we live. While this answer holds great potential, however, it is also very fragile. It is the aim of this book to improve our understanding of the shifting ground on which agreements must be reached in today's hyper-complex society.

"Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen has written what will long be regarded as the standard work for understanding the meaning, concept, theory, practice and analysis of partnerships. In addressing this topic which is central to contemporary societies and their organization, he confirms his position at the forefront on European social and political thought today." Mitchell Dean, Professor of Sociology, Macquarie University, Australia

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen is Professor of Political Management at Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School. He is research manager of a group of twelve researchers in public and political management. He has published ten books and thirty articles.

Introduction; Analytical strategy; Articulating partnerships;Outsourcing limits; Contracts and relationality; Contracts as communication; Partnerships as second-order contracts; Partnerships as tentative structural coupling; Partnerships as second-order organisations; Conclusion.