Public sector accountability and the contradictions of the regulatory state

Murphy, M. (2020) Public sector accountability and the contradictions of the regulatory state. Administrative Theory and Praxis, 42(4), pp. 517-530. (doi: 10.1080/10841806.2019.1700455)

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A substantial amount of research evidence has been gathered regarding the pathologies of accountability, but less attention has been paid to the reasons why such pathologies occur in the first place. The paper addresses this issue by exploring accountability in the context of Habermas’ theory of lifeworld colonization. The paper explores the value of the colonization thesis to modern day issues associated with the “regulatory state”, that form of state governance with surveillance and enforcement strategies at its core. It takes seriously the contribution that Habermas can make to the field of public administration – a contribution that can position the field in its broader context of democratic governance. At the same time, it is accepted that there are limitations of the colonization thesis as an explanatory device, with the paper arguing that not all the consequences of accountability can be considered illustrative of a damaged communicative intersubjectivity. Specifically the paper turns to the concept of street-level bureaucracy for further refinement of Habermas’ ideas around governance.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Murphy, Dr Mark
Authors: Murphy, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Journal Name:Administrative Theory and Praxis
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1949-0461
Published Online:26 December 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Public Administration Theory Network
First Published:First published in Administrative Theory and Praxis 42(4): 517-530
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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