Comparative Public Service Systems
Edited by Hans-Ulrich Derlien and B. Guy Peters
Chapter 8: Societal Links and Social Differentiation of the Public Service
8. Societal links and social diﬀerentiation of the public service Hans-Ulrich Derlien and Luc Rouban INTRODUCTION This chapter deals with the public service as a social system. It pulls together information from the country reports regarding the internal specialization and stratiﬁcation of public services. This internal focus on the public services is complemented by two macro-sociological perspectives, one concerning the prestige of and trust in the public service and the other relating to the administrative elite and their interaction with the political and the economic environment. The next section deals with the social standing of public services in the various national societies. It refers to the ongoing political debate about the boundaries between the public and private sectors as well as to subjective social perceptions and evaluations of the public service and trust in institutions in general. The following two sections turn to the internal social diﬀerentiation of what appears to be a largely opaque public service by comparing the various national service systems according to their internal legal (civil servants vs. contractual public employees and labourers) and social (qualiﬁcation and rank) diﬀerentiations. Like any social system, the public service in all OECD countries is internally diﬀerentiated, both functionally and in terms of social stratiﬁcation. Of special interest here are the diﬀerences between countries with a system of administrative corps and those without. Then we turn to the public service as a social system within the broader society by looking at elite...
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