Representative Bureaucracy in Action
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Representative Bureaucracy in Action

Country Profiles from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia

Edited by B. Guy Peters, Patrick von Maravić and Eckhard Schröter

Taking a comparative and analytical perspective, the authoritatively, yet accessibly written, country chapters show how salient the politics of representativeness have become in increasingly diverse societies. At the same time, they illustrate the wide variety of practice based on different political systems, administrative structures, and cultural settings.
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Chapter 2: Representative bureaucracy in the United States

B. Guy Peters


The increasing diversity of most contemporary societies, especially in the developed democratic systems, poses challenges to many of the ways in which governance has been practiced in the past. Many of the assumptions about how to manage in the public sector and what policies to pursue must be reconsidered in light of the increased social complexity and the need to deliver services to the more diverse population (Smith, 2004). Further, not only are societies more complex but also numerous minority social groups (or majority groups in the case of women) have become mobilized politically in order to press demands for greater equality and integration into the dominant society. The public bureaucracy has been one obvious target for the mobilization of minority social groups, whether they have been resident in the country for decades or centuries, or whether they are relatively recent arrivals. The bureaucracy is important both as a potential source of employment for members of minority groups and also because it delivers public services, including a number that may be especially relevant for the minority groups.

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