n Journal of Public Administration - South African intergovernmental relations : a definitional perspective

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The conceptual breadth associated with the term intergovernmental relations (IGR) as well as its multi-applicability to mean different things to different people has evoked praise and scorn from scholars and practitioners of myriad academic disciplines and backgrounds. Although this breadth of interpretation is to intergovernmental relations' advantage, it has also grown to become one of its prominent theoretical liabilities, particularly as a topic of reasoned discourse. The unreflective use of intergovernmental relations as a contextual contributor to either politics or public administration provides it with a power that makes its governance and managerial prescriptions infinite. This article intends defining the IGR concept; attention will be given to the emerging theoretical questions that have always been relegated to the dustbins of the erstwhile federal-unitary debate often associated with genuine IGR discourse.

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