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Journal for the History of Public Administration / Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte

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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.

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Von der Beschreibung zur Verdichtung

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.

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The ›Head of Household‹

A Long Normative History of a Statistical Category in the U.K

Kerstin Brückweh

impacts or rather political statements), nevertheless they were treated as if they were married. Ibidem, S.53. From the perspective of social scientists this was a logical act because cohabitation could be seen as a new phenomenon that needed to be customised to time-series statistics – and this was a pragmatic way to achieve it. A third and related but slightly different reason for the persistence is connected to a pragmatic way of methodologically handling the problematic definition. In a paper in the government Survey Methodological Bulletin Jean Martin and

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Jean-Baptiste Fressoz

the field of pustular diseases in the 1830s was the direct results of bitter struggles about the vaccine and its protective virtues. The vaccinators achieved a medical and methodological stroke whose historical significance cannot be overestimated. Never before had medicine defined a disease by its image. Anatomical atlases had been charting the healthy body for a long time. However, the representation of pathologies aimed to display extraordinary cases rather than to define types. The nosological revolution at the end of the eighteenth century (Boissier de