Defining and understanding street-level bureaucracy
Starting with some observation on the coining of the notion of street-level bureaucracy by Michael Lipsky, this chapter defines the scope of attention of the book, inspired rather than constrained by Michael Lipsky’s approach. His choice of adding ‘street-level’ to the word ‘bureaucracy’ suggests a way to do so. Hence the second section delves a little into the history of the use of the term bureaucracy and to explore related insights. The third section gives attention to the particular aspects of the subject matter Michael Lipsky has put on the scholarly agenda. Although the described phenomena get continued attention under other labels as well, Lipsky’s approach of bureaucracy on the ground floor of the (semi-) public sector has consequences for the study of policy processes. In fact his approach addresses some general issues prevalent in that study, in a particular way. In section four the state of street-level bureaucracy research performed under that specific heading is explored. In the fifth section some matters of definition will be discussed, before in the sixth, and final, section the objective and contents of this book will be set out more fully.
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