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Public administration as an aspect of governmental activity has existed as long as political systems have been functioning and trying to achieve program objectives set by the political decision-makers. Public administration as a field of systematic study is much more recent. Advisers to rulers and commentators on the workings of government have recorded their observations from time to time in sources as varied as Kautilya's Arthasastra in ancient India, the Bible, Aristotle's Politics, and Machiavelli's The Prince, but it was not until the eighteenth century that cameralism, concerned with the systematic management of governmental affairs, became a specialty of German scholars in Western Europe. In the United States, such a development did not take place until the latter part of the nineteenth century, with the publication in 1887 of Woodrow Wilson's famous essay, “The Study of Administration,” generally considered the starting point. Since that time, public administration has become a well-recognized area of specialized interest, either as a subfield of political science or as an academic discipline in its own right.
It is appropriate to begin with some observations on the development of Public Administration, for the development of Comparative Public Administration and its present…
It is appropriate to begin with some observations on the development of Public Administration, for the development of Comparative Public Administration and its present problems are most clearly viewed in historical perspective: The logical problems are related to a chronological development.
How should we make sense of Europe's current malaise? Focused on the great recession, the European Union (EU)'s architecture, or diverging national interests, the…
How should we make sense of Europe's current malaise? Focused on the great recession, the European Union (EU)'s architecture, or diverging national interests, the literature offers useful economic, institutional, and political explanations. It is our contention that, however diverse, these works share one important limitation: a tendency to focus on rather immediate causes and consequences and not to step back with historical or comparative perspectives to gain a “longer” view of the dynamics at work. In this article, we begin by examining parallels between the EU's current conditions and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Then, introducing the articles contained in this special issue, we raise research questions pertaining to long-term historical, social, cultural, economic, and political factors. Are the current challenges unprecedented or do they have roots or connections to past events and developments? Is there a European trajectory into which we can contextualize current events? Are there bright spots, and what do they suggest about Europe's present and future? To engage in such questions, the papers leverage the insights of historical and comparative sociology, as well as comparative politics. In so doing, they offer analyses that see the EU as an instance of state formation. They propose that a key dimension of tension and possible resolution is the classic problem of sovereignty. They grapple with the question of identity and institutions, exploring in that context the extent and limit of citizens' support for more Europe. And they delve into the nature of the nationalist and populist sentiments within and across European countries.
This chapter argues that despite the proverbial claim that populism is ill-defined and has too broad a conceptual net, the literature on the subject tends to converge…
This chapter argues that despite the proverbial claim that populism is ill-defined and has too broad a conceptual net, the literature on the subject tends to converge toward four core elements of populism that provides a conceptual and analytical unity. Furthermore, the conceptual core of populism explains why the concept has been able to encompass a wide range of populist manifestations without becoming an empty analytical shell. Also, the conceptual cores have helped provide the empirical basis that has given rise to a diverse and innovative literature that seeks to measure and compare cross-nationally populism.
The article investigates how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and deepened the presidentialization of politics in Italy. It examines how a series of innovative rules…
The article investigates how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and deepened the presidentialization of politics in Italy. It examines how a series of innovative rules and procedures adopted by the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to face the extraordinary event are part of a permanent presidentialization dynamic.
This study analyzes the role of prime minister in coping with the pandemic in Italy within the analytical framework of the personalization of politics. Section 1 investigates how the prime minister has resorted to autonomous normative power through intensive use of the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers (DPCM). Section 2 observes the establishment of a more direct relationship with citizens through extensive use of digital communication and high engagement. Section 3 analyzes the “personal task force” appointed by the prime minister and highlights a new balance between technocratic/private roles and politics undermining democratic accountability.
By examining three main aspects of the personalization of politics, the article observes that the COVID-19 pandemic has facilitated the movement to presidentialization of power in Italy. It argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened political and institutional trends already in place before the crisis.
The article expands the comparative research on the presidentialization of politics. The Italian case clearly underlines how the pandemic crisis represented a further step of progressive dominance of the “executive” over the other branches of government. The article suggests an agenda for future cross-institutional and cross-national analysis.
In a country where judicial institutions are known to be inefficient and where activists have traditionally not engaged in legal mobilization, what explains the emergence…
In a country where judicial institutions are known to be inefficient and where activists have traditionally not engaged in legal mobilization, what explains the emergence of NGO strategic litigation? The author argues that a change in the legal opportunity structure impacts how activists interact with the legal system. Comparing two states in Mexico, the author demonstrates that the introduction of private prosecution rights opened the door for activists to litigate femicide cases. The emergence of strategic litigation has helped improve compliance with international human rights law and has had a demonstration effect on how to use the law to press for accountability.
The Latin American region experienced an electoral shift to the political left during the 2000s but this leftist shift did not radically alter the political economy of the…
The Latin American region experienced an electoral shift to the political left during the 2000s but this leftist shift did not radically alter the political economy of the region. Following Jessop’s (2008) strategic-relational approach to theorizing about the state, this paper focuses on the perspective that the structure of the state is both an outcome of prior social struggles and a structuring mechanism for the social actors that attempt to enact political and economic reforms.
After demonstrating what this has historically meant for the types of state that have existed in Latin America during the past century by reviewing some of the literature on the corporatist and bureaucratic-authoritarian states and clientelism, this paper argues that the neoliberal reforms of the 1980s and 1990s constituted a new type of state – the Latin American neoliberal state. This analysis is then focused on the literature that seeks to describe the new lefts in the region, while continuing to focus on the role of the neoliberal state in structuring these new lefts’ terrain of struggle.
Understanding the new lefts in Latin America and the types of reforms that they are capable of making requires that we better understand this new type of state. Due to the structural limitations imposed by the neoliberal state, the lefts are not able to radically alter the region’s political economy.
It is often said that we live in a time of crisis for social democracy. Many of the West European centre-left parties that seemed the natural parties of government in the…
It is often said that we live in a time of crisis for social democracy. Many of the West European centre-left parties that seemed the natural parties of government in the second half of the twentieth century are in decline. The most common long-term explanations centre on a shrinking working class, a widening gap between the party elite and their core voters, and the challenges from new populist parties and/or greens. Short-term policy factors include the failure to address the recent financial and refugee crises. None of these factors carry much explanatory weight for developments in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the three decades since the transition from communism. We find that much of the explanation for the rise and the fall of the five social democratic parties in these countries lies in the dynamics of party competition and party system change. All parties face dilemmas of policy, electoral appeal and coalition-building. The Central European cases suggest that it is how social democrats handle such challenges and make difficult choices about strategy and tactics that ultimately shapes their long-term fate. Centre-left parties are stronger masters of their fortunes than much of the literature on the decline of social democracy suggests. Consequently, seeking a common structural explanation for the rise and decline of social democratic parties might be a double fallacy: both empirically misleading and a poor base for policy advice.