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A Transatlantic History of Public Administration

Analyzing the USA, Germany and France

Fritz Sager, Christian Rosser, Céline Mavrot and Pascal Y. Hurni

Intellectual traditions are commonly regarded as cultural variations, historical legacies, or path dependencies. By analysing road junctions between different traditions of Public Administration this book contests the dominant perspective of path-dependent national silos, and highlights the ways in which they are hybrid and open to exogenous ideas.
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Chapter 6: The transfer of knowledge from the USA to France

Fritz Sager, Christian Rosser, Céline Mavrot and Pascal Y. Hurni


In France, the well-established administrative law has had a long-lasting influence on administrative studies since the end of the nineteenth century. This chapter analyzes the transformations of administrative studies in France after World War II. It shows first that a group of comparative administrative law scholars attempted to create a new ‘administrative science’ based on the US Public Administration model in order to complement administrative law. However, the reference to the US remained rather vague and general. Second, another shift in post-war French administrative thought is examined, with the importation of Anglo-American productivity techniques by practitioners within the French administration. Third, this chapter studies the importation of US behaviorism within French administrative studies by sociology of organizations scholar Michel Crozier from the 1960s. In conclusion, the chapter highlights how a foreign discipline can be used as a source of legitimization for a scientific project at the national level.

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