Governmentality, the Problem of Steering´ and Public Administration

Rigmor Madeleine Lond

Research output: Working paperResearch

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In the sub discipline of political science called ‘Public Administration’, the problem of ‘steering’ is central, and underlay much of the literature as a prerequisite for making the study of the rationalities and behaviour of public administrations relevant1. ‘Steering’ is anticipated as the legitimate goal that gives sense to the discipline and to the sheer exercise of administering public affairs. As B. Guy Peters states: “an effective government is a good thing – a view to which people living in societies without one would probably subscribe” (Peters 2000: 40). Thus, articles and books in the discipline rarely question the basic assumption of the inherently normative goal of steering, as for example: What does it actually mean to ‘steer’? What are the social relations entailed by steering, and the conditions and consequences of steering? Why is it legitimate to want to steer public administration (or any administration) all together? In the present article I try to reflect on and to give a starting point to how one can address these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
PublisherDepartment of Management, Politics and Philosophy, CBS
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)8791181348
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003
SeriesMPP Working Paper

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