This chapter challenges a “monistic” conception of sovereignty that envisions public action as flowing, in an unbroken chain, from popular sovereignty. This monistic conception imposes strong hierarchical accountability on public agencies and discourages them from building more bottom-up consent for strategic problem-solving. To build this bottom-up consent, public agencies must be more embedded in the communities they serve. Such embeddedness, however, raises serious concerns about corruption and fair representation. The chapter explores the possibilities for “embedded autonomy,” where agencies maintain their autonomy while engaging more directly with external stakeholders.
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