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Rethinking policy and politicsReflections on contemporary debates in policy studies$
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Sarah Ayres

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447319467

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447319467.001.0001

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Political anthropology and civil service reform: prospects and limits

Political anthropology and civil service reform: prospects and limits

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter Two Political anthropology and civil service reform: prospects and limits
Source:
Rethinking policy and politics
Author(s):

R.A.W Rhodes

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447319467.003.0002

What lessons about public sector reform can be learnt from using political anthropology to study governance reform? What are the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach? I contrast the everyday working experience reported in Rhodes (2011) with the core themes of civil service reform; namely evidencebased policy making, managerialism, and choice. I use five axioms for clarity of exposition: coping and the appearance of rule, not strategic planning; institutional memory, not internal structures; storytelling, not evidencebased policy; contending traditions and stories, not just managerialism; the politics of implementation, not top-down innovation and control.

Keywords:   observation, political anthropology, public sector reform

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