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Beyond Service: State Workers, Public Policy, and the Prospects for Democratic Administration

Beyond Service: State Workers, Public Policy, and the Prospects for Democratic Administration (Hardback)

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Synopsis

In this seminal work, Greg McElligott traces neoconservative labour market policy from its international origins to the local offices of the Canadian state. In doing so he challenges the elite focus of most policy studies and shows how resistance and informal policy-making among frontline state workers can lay the foundations for a new, more democratic, state. This study concerns one department of Canadian government - Employment and Immigration Canada (EIC) - and one policy field - labour market policy from 1976-1991. Professor McElligott unearths resistance in workplaces where "cutting edge" neoconservative managers were trying to reshape government services, and inserts frontline workers into state theories, policy debates and progressive political strategies. He argues that the neglect of these workers makes key state theories incomplete and separates policy-making theory - and practice - from actual state outputs. One consequence is that progressives have foregone many promising strategic opportunities.

McElligott concludes that indirect democracy and bureaucratic hierarchy are not inevitable and lays out a proposal for "Public Service Councils" and self-managed state workplaces. Rich in critical analysis and provocative in intent, Beyond Service challenges current trends in administrative theory and policy-making, and will be of great interest to academics, policy research bodies, union researchers, educators, and, most importantly, those very frontline government workers whose input is not recognized and whose potential this text will help to realize.

Greg McElligot is Assistant Professor, Department of Labour Studies, McMaster University.

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