Revisiting Charles Goodsell‘s ‘Case for Bureaucracy‘: an international perspective

Type Working Paper
Title Revisiting Charles Goodsell‘s ‘Case for Bureaucracy‘: an international perspective
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
The =bureaucratic‘ paradigm of public administration has become perhaps the most maligned
approach to the field in modern American public administration scholarship. Despite defenders
(with Larry Lynn and Charles Goodsell prominent among these), public bureaucratic agencies
have been criticized from left-leaning scholars advocating approaches as diverse as democratic
citizenship, publicness, civil society, organizational humanism, new public administration, and
postmodernism. Similarly, more conservative advocates of public choice, neo-liberalism,
reinventing government and the new public management also condemn public bureaucracy.
These discussions have not been limited to American scholars, as other Anglophones have
contributed, and these discussions are also evident in a range of other national public
administration literatures. These other literatures provide a valuable corrective to these
discussions, though. Reflecting both an ahistoricism and parochialism, American (and more
broadly, many first world) scholars of public administration, not to mention elected officials, too
often forget just how revolutionary the bureaucratic paradigm was in their own societies, and
remains in the world today.

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