Unmasking Administrative Evil / Edition 2by Taylor and Francis, Danny L. Balfour
Pub. Date: 02/10/2004
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Unmasking Administrative Evil discusses the overlooked relationship between evil and public administration, as well as other fields and professions in public life. The authors argue that the tendency toward administrative evil, as manifested in acts of dehumanization and genocide, is deeply woven into the identity of public administration, as well as other/b>… See more details below
Unmasking Administrative Evil discusses the overlooked relationship between evil and public administration, as well as other fields and professions in public life. The authors argue that the tendency toward administrative evil, as manifested in acts of dehumanization and genocide, is deeply woven into the identity of public administration, as well as other fields and professions in public life. The common characteristic of administrative evil is that ordinary people within their normal professional and administrative roles can engage in acts of evil without being aware that they are doing anything wrong. Under conditions of moral inversion, people may even view their evil activity as good. In an age when "bureaucrat bashing" is fashionable, this book seeks to move beyond such superficial critiques and lay the groundwork for a more ethical and democratic public life, one that recognizes its potential for evil and thereby creates greater possibilities for avoiding the hidden pathways that lead to state-sponsored dehumanization and destruction.
Although social scientists generally do not discuss "evil" in an academic setting, there is no denying that it has existed in public administration throughout history. Hundreds of millions of human beings have died as a direct or indirect consequence of state-sponsored violence. This book argues that administrative evil, or destructiveness, is part of the identity of all modern public administration (as it is part of psychoanalytic study at the individual level). Furthermore, evil has been largely suppressed or ignored despite, or perhaps because of, its profound and far-reaching implications for the field. From the Holocaust tothe "white lie," evil exists on a continuum, and the way along that continuum begins on the proverbial "slippery slope." We prefer to think of horrible eruptions of evil, such as Adolf Hitler, as occurring at a particular historical moment and within specific extraordinary cultural contexts. Yet, we have a long history in the United States of public lynchings, syphilis/radiation/LSD experiments within our military, and police brutality in our cities while public administrators have looked on, even participated. The Holocaust was such a massive administrative undertaking, we must consider whether modern public administration may be at its most effective and efficient when it is engaged in programs of dehumanization and destruction.
Constructing a positive future for public administration requires a willingness to deal with the disturbing aspects of the field's history, identity, and practices. Rather than viewing events such as genocide as isolated or aberrant historical events, the authors show how the forces that unleashed such events are part of modernity and are thus present in all contemporary public organizations. This book is not an exercise in bureaucrat-bashing. It goes beyond superficial critique of public affairs and lays the groundwork for building a more effective and humane profession.
- Taylor & Francis
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Table of Contents
Foreword to the Revised Edition - Charles Perrow; Foreword to the First Edition, Curtis Ventriss; Acknowledgments; Introduction and Overview; 1. The Dynamics of Evil and Administrative Evil; Modernity, Technical Rationality and Administrative Evil; Evil in the Modern Age: Dirty Hands; Hubris; Is Administrative Evil Public or Private?; Administrative Evil and Public Affairs; Understanding Evil; The Roots of Administrative Evil: A Psychological Perspective: Perspective and Distance; Language and Dehumanization; The Taken-for-Granted; The Social Construction of Evil; Individual, Organization and Society; 2. Compliance, Technical Rationality and Administrative Evil; Evil and Organizations; The Social Construction of Compliance: The Stanford Prison Experiment; Modernity and the Dominance of Technical Rationality: Technical Rationality and the; Evolution of Modern Professionalism; The Moral Vacuity of Technical-Rational; Professionalism; Compliance in a Culture of Technical Rationality; Failing to See Administrative Evil; 3. Administrative Evil Unmasked: The Holocaust and Public Service; The Holocaust and Administrative Evil: Historical Interpretations of the Holocaust and the; Role of Public Service; Legalizing Evil: The German Civil Service and the Third Reich; Implementing Evil: The German Civil Service and the Holocaust; Adolf Eichmann and the Banality of Administrative Evil: Satanic Greatness? Perfectly Safe Ground?; 4. Administrative Evil Masked: From Mittelbau-Dora and Peenemunde to the Marshall Space Flight Center; Mittelbau-Dora: The Beginning; The Mittelwerk Factory; The Catastrophic End; Peenemunde; Operations Overcast and Paperclip: Post-War Chaos; Denazification; The Von Braun Team: Huntsville, Redstone and the Marshall Space Flight Center; Saturn and Apollo; Administrative Evil; 5. Organizational Dynamics and Administrative Evil: The Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA, and the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia; Organizational Dynamics and the Pathway to Administrative Evil; The Marshall Space Flight Center, Challenger and the Pathway to Administrative Evil: A; Flawed Design; NASA's History as an Organization; Problems in the Apollo Program; Important Differences Between Apollo and the Shuttle; The Challenger Disaster: An Extraordinary Launch; The Marshall Space Flight Center; The Evolution of a Destructive Organizational Culture at Marshall; The Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster; The Pathway to Administrative Evil; 6. Public Policy and Administrative Evil; Public Policy and Problem Solving: Critiques of the Problem Solving Approach to Public Policy; Surplus Populations and Public Policy Metaphors: Welfare Policy and Illegal Drug Policy; Immigration Policy; Operations Overcast and Paperclip; The Evacuation and Relocation of 'All Persons of Japanese Ancestry': 'The Decision; Nobody Made'; The Military Trump Card in Wartime; Implementation; Denouement; Surplus Populations, Moral Inversion and Administrative Evil; 7. In the Face of Administr
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