A Heritage Made Our Own

Robert F. Durant

in The Oxford Handbook of American Bureaucracy

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199238958
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

A Heritage Made Our Own

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This article outlines the book, which provides a portrait of what the American bureaucracy research terrain looked like at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, and why it looked the way it did. This article specifically discusses: history of American bureaucracy; bureaucratic rationality; bureaucracy's boundaries; politics, responsiveness, and accountability in American bureaucracy; and its constitutional, resource, and ethical foundations. The second part of this text addresses some of what has passed as conventional wisdom related to the macrodynamics of bureaucracy that Max Weber embraced. The third part revisits the antinomies of Weber's rationality project. Next, the article describes how the single-organizational legacy of Weber's insights is now further exacerbated by the emergence of new governance models. The next part covers the longer-term deleterious consequences of bureaucracy for democracy that Weber anticipated and dreaded. Lastly, the interstices of Weber's lonely organization are shown.

Keywords: American bureaucracy; Max Weber; bureaucratic rationality; politics; macrodynamics; governance; democracy

Article.  9166 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Public Administration

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