Politics at the Local Level

  • Malcolm Slater
Part of the Contemporary Language Studies book series (CLS)


Apart from institutions on the national level which provide a basic framework for political, economic and social life, the central authority of a state needs to be present throughout its territory to maintain internal order, to apply laws, and to ensure that the general interest — at its most stark, the survival of the state — prevails over the interest of groups, classes or geographical areas. The setting up of a local administrative machinery, however, raises fundamental questions. Firstly, there are considerations regarding the optimum size of administrative units, and the number of levels or tiers which are needed below national level. Secondly, there are problems concerning the status of the persons and bodies at the head of the local administrative units. Here, two broad concepts are evoked:
  1. 1

    decentralisation, where responsibility for local administration is given to locally designated bodies, which have as much independence as is compatible with the general interest of the state; in a state organised as a federation, for example, the degree of independence of constituent units is high.



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© George Malcolm Slater 1985

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  • Malcolm Slater

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