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Political Philosophy on Administration - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 160
Administration/political theories/Bohman: A. Newer forms of political authority such as expertise and the media seem to operate outside the potentially discursively designed constitutional state and are less open to discursive influence. Administrative institutions act for the common good, a use of public power authorized by legislative mandates to achieve certain ends.
Tradition: for that reason, philosophers from Locke to Hegel and Weber see administrators as engaged only in 'neutral' means/ends reasoning, a necessity for the exercise of effective political power.
FoucaultVsTradition: Foucault and others have analysed the way in which this power is exercised in part via discursive means, in the way that people and things are named, classified and disciplined in a 'symbolic order' (Foucault, 1977(1); Bourdieu, 1991(2); Flyvbjerg, 1998(3)).
Sociology: Social scientists also have long recognized the ambiguous relationship between democracy and bureaucracy: Weber saw that democracy helps produce more bureaucracy, even as bureaucracy tends to undermine democracy as the former becomes an efficient 'social machine' (Weber, 1946(4); Hummel, 1994(5)), open only indirectly to deliberative influence.
B. Deliberative planning: The alternative is to put deliberative mechanisms and interaction with the public within the design of administrative institutions themselves, and this sort of design has taken the form of 'deliberative planning' (Fischer and Forester, 1994(6); Forester, 1993(7)). >Institutions/Discourse theories, >Administration/Discourse theories.


1. Foucault, Michel (1977) Discipline and Punish. New York: Vantage.
2. Bourdieu, Pierre (1991) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity.
3. Flyvbjerg, Bent (1998) Rationality and Power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
4. Weber, Max (1946) From Max Weber, eds, H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
5. Hummel, R. P. (1994) The Bureaucratic Experience: A Critique of Life in the Modern Organization. New York: St Martin's.
6. Fischer, Frank and John Forester, eds (1994) The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
7. Forester, John (1993) Critical Theory, Public Policy, and Planning Practice. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Bohman, James 2004. „Discourse Theory“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Political Philosophy
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-24
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