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Political anthropology and civil service reform: prospects and limits

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What lessons about public sector reform can be learnt from using political anthropology to study governance reform? What are the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach? I contrast the everyday working experience reported in Rhodes (2011) with the core themes of civil service reform; namely evidence-based policy making, managerialism, and choice. I use five axioms for clarity of exposition: coping and the appearance of rule, not strategic planning; institutional memory, not internal structures; storytelling, not evidence-based policy; contending traditions and stories, not just managerialism; the politics of implementation, not top-down innovation and control.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: October 2013

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