The relationship between politics and administration in democratic systems is a key theme in political studies. Political institutions and bureaucratic institutions plan and develop their actions according to a different logic, and different constitutive and organizational principles. The choices of political representatives are inspired by ideals, interests, values, beliefs and world views that attempt to be coherent with those held by electors and, more generally, citizens. Conversely, the choices and behaviours of bureaucratic actors are inspired by coherence criteria relating to juridical norms and professional competence and ethics. Precisely due to the division of the top tier of decision making, in democratic public institutions government action is the fruit both of political and administrative considerations. Clearly, the phenomenon is of crucial importance, both because institutionally speaking it is very widespread, and also because of its consequences. One of these is the unconquerable tension between democracy and bureaucracy, evidenced by Weber (1922) and mentioned in the introduction. It should also be observed that the issue of the shaping and control of bureaucratic institutions exploded with the shift towards mass politics and the full development of the Welfare State, which took place in the second half of the twentieth century. In the face of increasing complexity, the proliferation of actors and the themes addressed in decision making arenas, bureaucracies were called upon to intervene and deliver complex, highly structured services. The performance of those tasks was accompanied by the delegation of decisional power by political organs (legislative assemblies and political leaders of administrations) to bureaucratic apparatuses. The process of political delegation necessarily posed the need for bureaucratic accountability and mechanisms whereby administrations could exercise political control. Such pressures for change have grown over the last four decades, also due to the spread of reforms inspired by NPM. Without doubt, bureaucracies, at the service of democratic political institutions, have been called upon – and will be increasingly in the future – to find solutions to the great problems of globalization and of demographic, migratory, environmental and technological changes.

Chiarini, R. (2018). Bureaucracy and Politics, 1-10 [10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_609-1].

Bureaucracy and Politics

Rosalba Chiarini
2018

Abstract

The relationship between politics and administration in democratic systems is a key theme in political studies. Political institutions and bureaucratic institutions plan and develop their actions according to a different logic, and different constitutive and organizational principles. The choices of political representatives are inspired by ideals, interests, values, beliefs and world views that attempt to be coherent with those held by electors and, more generally, citizens. Conversely, the choices and behaviours of bureaucratic actors are inspired by coherence criteria relating to juridical norms and professional competence and ethics. Precisely due to the division of the top tier of decision making, in democratic public institutions government action is the fruit both of political and administrative considerations. Clearly, the phenomenon is of crucial importance, both because institutionally speaking it is very widespread, and also because of its consequences. One of these is the unconquerable tension between democracy and bureaucracy, evidenced by Weber (1922) and mentioned in the introduction. It should also be observed that the issue of the shaping and control of bureaucratic institutions exploded with the shift towards mass politics and the full development of the Welfare State, which took place in the second half of the twentieth century. In the face of increasing complexity, the proliferation of actors and the themes addressed in decision making arenas, bureaucracies were called upon to intervene and deliver complex, highly structured services. The performance of those tasks was accompanied by the delegation of decisional power by political organs (legislative assemblies and political leaders of administrations) to bureaucratic apparatuses. The process of political delegation necessarily posed the need for bureaucratic accountability and mechanisms whereby administrations could exercise political control. Such pressures for change have grown over the last four decades, also due to the spread of reforms inspired by NPM. Without doubt, bureaucracies, at the service of democratic political institutions, have been called upon – and will be increasingly in the future – to find solutions to the great problems of globalization and of demographic, migratory, environmental and technological changes.
978-3-319-20927-2
Chiarini, R. (2018). Bureaucracy and Politics, 1-10 [10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_609-1].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/360764
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