Journal for the History of Public Administration / Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte
This re-reading of Frido Wagener’s »New Construction of Administration« (»Neubau der Verwaltung«, 1969) places this book in the setting of Western Germany’s late 1960s and their quest for an enlightened planning after the mere ›re-construction‹ (of buildings as well as of democracy) in earlier post-war Western Germany. Wagener’s struggle to ›rationalize‹ planning can be seen as a project that was as grand as it was doomed to fail – the judgement of posterity has yet to be spoken.
Der Bezirk als Verwaltungsraum im Großherzogtum Baden zwischen 1809 und den 1870er Jahren
Rüdiger von Krosigk
This article explores the spatial generation and perception of administrative districts. It has a particular focus on how certain administrative practices contributed to diminishing spatial distance between district offices and local society, that is, residents and municipalities, from the early 19th century to the 1870S in the Grand Duchy of Baden. TWO different administrative systems – a centralized one introduced in 1809 and a more participative one dating from 1863/1865 – characterize the period under consideration. With regard to the methodological approach, the understanding of the generation and perception of administrative spaces is informed by cultural, communications, and media studies.
With respect to the spatial generation and perception of the administrative districts, two administrative practices are of particular interest. Firstly, administrative visitations (›Ortsbereisungen‹) were periodically carried out in the villages by the district officers, starting in the early 19th century, to gather information as the basis of a ›close‹ description of the administrative, agricultural, economic, infrastructural, security, welfare and health conditions in the districts for the purpose of administrative reports. Oral communication and immediacy in conducting the administrative visitations contributed in particular to reducing distance between district administrations and local society.
Secondly, the article explores the role of honorary district councillors as middlemen between local society and district administration from the mid-1860s. In their roles as experts, advisors, and mediators – which they also fulfilled in the context of administrative visitations – the honorary district councillors enhanced the proximity of local society to the district administration and in this way contributed to the perception of the district as a rather small space.
Verhaltenslehren und Lernprozesse im ländlichen Raum des 19. Jahrhunderts
This article considers the role of the local village mayors in East Elbian Prussia and Bavaria during the second half of the 19th century. These actors played an important part in the process of state expansion, but it is still unclear how the unpaid mayors were able to meet the challenges of everyday action between the local community and the state. This problem is explored in this paper on the basis of administrative and local sources as well as different kinds of contemporary instructions. It is shown that long-term learning processes as well as the growing autonomy of local communities made it more likely that village mayors became experienced ›players‹ in meeting the everyday administrative and political demands.
Narrative über Vergangenes – Versuch einer Typologie
The academic field of administrative law deals above all with the legal framework currently underlying today’s public administration. And yet its literature also touches on history, be it that of public administration or administrative law. This article takes a metahistorical approach, investigating the motives behind the field’s interest in history and the narrative traditions it follows. Finally, it seeks to answer the question of why scholars of law should play a part in writing administrative history.
Peter Becker and Stefan Nellen
The advent of smallpox vaccine in France in 1800 inaugurates a new relationship between administration, public health and the definition of medical facts. As Napoleon himself refused to establish compulsory vaccination, a Comité de vaccine was established so as to impose the idea of a riskless vaccine protecting forever from smallpox. This article studies how human experimentation, clinical experience, medical imagery and statistics maintained the idea of a perfect vaccine for six decades, despite the multiplication of cases of post-vaccination smallpox and vaccine contaminations.
In the light of the relevant terms of this issue, »state«, »space« and »administration«, this contribution considers the intertwining between representations of order, their administration, and the governance of the subjects in the sovereignty areas of Salzburg and Tyrol in the Zillertal. The different ideas of space – investigated from the perspectives of various groups of the population, of local officials, and of the government centers – changed throughout the examined period. At its beginning, the authorities in the government centers endeavored to keep the borders open for mutual exchange, whereas the local officials used their administrative tools to stage a competition with the officials of the neighboring district, e.g. by blocking and redirecting the subjects’ pathways of movement. In this situation, a more open construction of space confronted a more mistrustful one aimed at enclosure and the guarding of borders. In the context of negotiations for a general border settlement between Tyrol and Salzburg, and on the basis of newly developed conceptions of a state as having a clearly defined sovereignty area, capable of being governed without any foreign influence up to its borders, the interventions of the government centers started to change. Borders were adjusted and a clear assignment of the subjects was demanded. However, the more an exact correspondence between space and sovereignty was pursued, the more obvious the impossibility of this undertaking became. Seemingly well-demarcated border lines appeared vague when regarded closely. Their official description was at odds with the subjects’ construction and usage of spaces. While their spatial behaviors were determined by the norms of the sovereign centers and controlled by the administrative work of the officials, the subjects developed their own strategies for dealing with these interventions in their constructions of space and adjusting to them.
Konzeptionelle und empirische Aspekte einer ›lebenden Verwaltung‹
Rüdiger von Krosigk
Rüdiger von Krosigk’s re-reading (Relektüre) of Thomas Ellwein’s The State as Coincidence and Necessity (Der Staat als Zufall und als Notwendigkeit, 1993/1997) explores the concept of »living administration« in the Prussian region of East-Westfalia-Lippe in the 19th and 20th century. Ellwein’s approach seeks to overcome those top-down perspectives on public administration that mainly focus on formal hierarchical structures and nurture the idea of »rationality« in the activities, functions and development of public administration. By contrast, his history of public administration draws inspiration from empirical administrative sciences, organisation sociology and historical institutionalism. Even 20 years after publication it is still an invaluable source in the field of administrative history.
Stefan Nellen and Thomas Stockinger
A particular relationship with space, usually called territoriality, is one of the essential characteristics of the modern state. This statement was long considered a commonplace. Recent debates, however, have raised new fundamental questions about both space and the state which require a re-examination of both terms, and thus of the connections between them as well. This introduction maps out some of the terminological and theoretical ground for research into these questions. We successively examine the conceptual history of the state, of public administration, and of space, pointing out reifying uses of all three notions which have been repudiated in theoretical debates but remain influential in many historiographical accounts, as well as in popular discourse. We highlight alternative approaches suggested by newer authors. In particular, we describe both the state and administration in terms of assemblages of people, institutions, and objects. Given that this perspective is also used in some current socio-cultural theories of space, we conclude that states and administrations not only exist in space, use space, and create and shape spaces, but that they are themselves spaces and can be analyzed using the methodological tools which apply to spaces of any kind.