We live in a bureaucratic era, in a society in which the one-room schoolhouse, the volunteer night watch and scribes hunched over accounts books are as anachronistic as the kerosense lamp, the horse and buggy and the
privy. These have been replaced by modern technology and modern management and in the process, society has become increasingly dependent on bureaucracies large and small--on complex organizations characterized by
internal specialization and staffed by all manner of experts. The dependence is as marked in the private sector as in the public. But the public sector presents a special challenge, at least in a democratic society.
a democratic society, government is supposed to be dependent on and serve its citizens, but many claim the reverse is now the case. Increasingly, it is said, governments are dominated by bureaucracies that have taken on
a life of their own--as self-sustaining and self-directing forces that are far less subordinate to the electoral process than democratic theory would have it.
This course will explore two broad questions with respect to bureaucracy in the United States. The first is whether people wish bureaucrats to be somehow subordinate to the electoral process or whether they would prefer instead that politicians not interfere with the work of the experts and professionals who run the bureaucracies. We will try to shed light on this question by examining a second, namely, past and present efforts to control the bureaucracy, focusing particularly on this country's enduring faith in the efficacy of institutional engineering.
COURSE FORMAT: Lecture
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS GOVT Grading Mode: Graded
Prerequisites: NONE Links to Web Resources For This Course.
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
Copyright Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459