Governing Europe

By Jack Hayward; Anand Menon | Go to book overview

7 Dismantling and Rebuilding the Weberian State

B. Guy Peters

The title of this chapter reflects an important question about the contemporary development of public administration and its role within the contemporary state. 1 It is clear that the public sectors in most contemporary countries have been recast through accepting some version of the 'New Public Management' (see Pollitt 1993). The traditional public sector has been, to a great extent, dismantled through this process of administrative reform, although the character of the emergent system for governing is not always clear. The question that is posed by these reforms is whether that earlier version of government can, or should, in any way be recaptured. The implicit and explicit argument is that a good deal of value has been lost through these changes in the style of governing but that it may well be impossible to rebuild anything approximating the older version of the state and the public bureaucracy.


Preliminary Issues

Before we embark on the place of Max Weber in a redefined public sector, there are several preliminary issues that should be addressed. These issues will not so much be resolved as acknowledged. The same intellectual issues that we will cope with in this manuscript have been dealt with by others a number of times and they are still far from resolved (see, e.g. Mommsen 1974 ; Derlien 1999). In our acknowledgement of these continuing intellectual issues, we can identify some of the complexity of coping with change within the contemporary public sector. In addition, we

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