Bureaucracy and the State

  • B. Guy Peters


This chapter examines the nature of the public bureaucracy as a central manifestation of the state and state power in European societies, as well as the changing role of bureaucracy in governance. The creation and institutionalization of a public bureaucracy was a central element of the modernization of society in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. Although bureaucratization was found in all societies, the timing and nature of the bureaucracies that were created were a function of the particular state traditions, as well as the demands placed on governing institutions considered more generally. Indeed, the nature of the bureaucracy is a central element in state traditions and is crucial in understanding governance in these societies, including the creation of concepts of equality and equity in governance. Likewise, pressures toward debureaucratization in contemporary political and social life reflect both general pressures for more efficient and less impersonal means of delivering services and the particular interpretations of those pressures in different systems. As bureaucracy as a form of social organization is devalued, the alternative conceptions of program implementation and the structuring of advice for political leaders will be discussed, along with the recreation of some aspects of formal bureaucracy.


Public Sector Civil Servant Public Administration Administrative System Public Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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