Editorial

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From the perspective of a typical everyday understanding of administration or that of popular criticism of bureaucracy, our theme – ›bureaucracy and emotions‹ – seems to be an irreconcilable contrast. The aim of this issue, however, is not only to show that administrative actions can be emotionally influenced but also to make it clear that emotions can be a functional component of administrative logic, albeit to very different degrees. It is not only about the emotions of the administrators but also about the emotions of the administrated. The contributions to this issue show how emotions are incorporated into administrative processes; how they are repelled, regulated, channelled and instrumentalized and to what extent emotions can generate normative effects as non-controllable influencing variables.

The topic of ›emotions‹ has not yet become an established research field in administrative history – unlike in general history, jurisprudence and sociology. The introductory contribution by Peter Collin, Robert Garot and Timon de Groot therefore aims to present the approaches developed in these disciplines and to explore their applicability to administrative history.

All contributions deal with the manifestations of emotions in specific administrative–historical contexts. Some of them discuss the significance of emotions for the self-understanding of officials and for administrative procedures in more general terms, while a second group of contributions focus on specific emotions.

The first group begins with Arndt Brendecke, who deals with the administration of early modern Spain, an administration that cannot yet correspond to Weberʼs ideal of rational bureaucracy. However, the ostentatious emotional self-control of public officials visible there does not mean that emotions are excluded from the official ethos. Rather, they are strictly channelled in such a way that loyalty and love are to be reserved solely for the monarch and the principle of justice. Lasse Hölck also addresses the Iberian area. He tries to map the relationship between colonial administration and indigenous subjects in terms of emotional history: Love, loyalty, passion, friendship and trust are essential coordinates. This is followed by the contribution by Margareth Lanzinger, who deals with a procedure that is per se emotionally charged – the granting of marriage dispensations in the 18th and 19th centuries. She discusses ecclesiastical administration and its premodern focus on individual acts of mercy instead of rule-based decision-making. Therese Garstenauer shifts the focus to the modern state and its administration. She uses disciplinary files of the Austrian bureaucracy to examine which emotions were considered as acceptable for officials while on duty during the interwar period. Remaining within the ambit of the Austrian bureaucracy, the article by Peter Becker shifts the focus towards the written performances of the subjects of bureaucratic procedures and asks for the criteria by which they were punished as defamatory between the mid-19th and the late 20th centuries. Sabine Mecking takes up this interest in emotionalized encounters between state and subjects and looks at the significance of emotions in collective action of citizens when confronting state actors in the territorial reform debate in the 1960s and 1970s. An approach of its own is chosen by André Ourednik, Guido Koller, Peter Fleer and Stefan Nellen who investigate the emotional impact of Swiss diplomatic reports by means of a quantitative »sentiment analysis«. They examine the conditions under which super-individual subjects of emotion can be aggregated from large textual datasets and propose a theoretical framework for their interpretation.

As far as the question of specific emotions and their significance is concerned, the strongly emotional factor of honour plays a central role in the history of administration. The fact that honour is not an emotional resource with constant content is illustrated by Robert Bernseeʼs contribution, which shows how traditional administrative notions of honour came into conflict with modern administrative concepts at the beginning of the 19th century. Alison Frank Johnson demonstrates the extent to which honour shaped the self-image and esprit de corps of Austro-Hungarian consuls at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, even overwriting legal norms. Another central administrative emotional resource is loyalty, which can be divided into different loyalties in a differentiated political–administrative system. Jana Osterkamp shows this using the example of highly emotionalized disputes over allocation of state resources for projects dear to nationalist organizations in Cisleithania, i.e. the ›Austrian‹ part of the Habsburg monarchy, at the beginning of the 20th century. Justice is likewise an essential standard of state action. However, how does the state react if a citizen’s sense of justice differs from official decisions? Under the heading »Querulanz«, Rupert Gaderer examines state and academic strategies for dealing with persistent and – in the view of its addressees – irrational insistence on different ideas of justice. Finally, it should be pointed out that the state is dependent on trust, especially in times of crisis. The contribution by Thomas Rohringer examines the role of trust in the Cisleithanian welfare administration during the First World War and its instrumentalization by nationalist actors.

Emotions can also develop a life of their own in administrative procedures. The section »Forum« contains a contribution by Robert Garot, who experienced this through participatory observation in the administrative treatment of migrants in contemporary Italy.

As usual, the »Re-reading« (Relektüre) section discusses »classics« of administrative science and questions their relevance for modern administrative historiography. It begins with an article by Agnes Arnd on Albert O. Hirschmanʼs book »Abwanderung und Widerspruch« (Exit, Voice, and Loyalty) from 1970. Although this is actually an economic study, it also provides important insights into how deficits in political–administrative systems are handled. Margrit Seckelmann deals with Fritz Morstein Marxʼs book »Dilemma des Verwaltungsmannes« (1965), a work that does not focus on the structural framework conditions of administrative action but rather on the individual aspects of administrative determinants of action – and thus again refers to the central questions of this volume.

Administory

Journal for the History of Public Administration / Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte

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