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Three paradigms of governance and administration: Chinese, Western and Islamic

Listed author(s):
  • Wolfgang Drechsler


    (Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Estonia)

This essay argues that there are (at least) three paradigms of governance and especially public administration: Chinese, Western, and Islamic — paradigms understood here as potentiality and theory rather than reality and practice as observed today. It then discusses classical Chinese, i.e. Confucian, and Islamic, specifically Ottoman, public administration, from this perspective. The guiding question is whether we arrive more easily at good public administration if we realize that there are different contexts and thus, potentially at least, different ways thither, as well as legitimately different goals.

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Article provided by Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary in its journal Society and Economy.

Volume (Year): 35 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 319-342

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Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:35:y:2013:i:3:p:319-342
Note: This lecture was delivered on the occasion of my being awarded an honorary doctorate in the social sciences by Corvinus University of Budapest on 22 February 2013, for which I am humbly grateful. I also presented it later at the Public Management Institute of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Catholic University of Leuven on 11 March 2013. The lecture style was to some extent retained (such as concerns ductus, personal perspective and selectivity of sources, which are not meant to represent a survey of the topics covered), which is also suitable for a more discursive, conceptual topic like this. The essay uses parts from several earlier works, all referred to in the text, especially from Drechsler (2013a 2013b), which deal with related sub-topics. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to thank my most important interlocutors regarding non-Western public administration during the last two or three years: Aleksandr Aidarov, Daniel A. Bell, Evan M. Berman, Geert Bouckaert, Marleen Brans, Michiel de Vries, Ingbert Edenhofer, Korel Göymen, Chung-Yuang Jan, György Jenei, Rainer Kattel, Aziz Klebleyev, Andrew Massey, B. Guy Peters, Tiina Randma-Liiv, Allan Rosenbaum, Sor-Hoon Tan and Rustamjon Urinboyev. I am also grateful to the Leuven audience for a very animated discussion that led to some minor but important revisions. Finally, I most sincerely thank the Corvinus University of Budapest, especially Rector Zsolt Rostoványi, Dean László Trautmann, and again György Jenei, for the magnificent honor and for the event that caused this lecture to be developed.
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