The Working Paper provides the theoretical foundations for an analytically and normatively adequate understanding of “governance” – a term and concept that has been widely used since the turn of the millennium for describing new forms of political steering and integration. It starts with an overview of the governance discourse at the beginning of the 21st century. We can distinguish a normative and an analytical application of the term governance. In its normative usage, governance constitutes a programmatic alternative to other paradigms for organizing and reforming the state and public administration. The competing paradigms can be subsumed under the terms government and management. For analytical purposes, the term governance is used, by contrast, to diagnose a change in forms of political steering, and sometimes even in politics and statehood altogether and to aptly conceptualise this change.