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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Reform and formality...

Today I reshelved a couple of books that were displaced rather than damaged, and it gave me an opportunity to look a bit more at each.

  • Schneider, Ben Ross, and Blanca Heredia, eds. 2003. REINVENTING LEVIATHAN : THE POLITICS OF ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. Coral Gables, Fla.: North-South Center Press. This is a really interesting "find" that got my attention a year or so ago. It was one of the works that got me interested in conducting a seminar on US administrative reform this past summer, although I did not assign it for the class given its comparative and "framing" focus. The framing is taken from a terrific review essay by Robert Kaufman published in 1999 that highlights three approaches to administrative reform: international political economy, institutional rational choice, and institutional sociological approaches. While the country studies are interesting, it is the introductory (by the co-editors) and concluding (by Kaufman) pieces that are most valuable....
  • Stinchcombe, Arthur L. 2001. WHEN FORMALITY WORKS: AUTHORITY AND ABSTRACTION IN LAW AND ORGANIZATIONS. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. This is the kind of book I'd like to write when I get the time. (Stinchcombe acknowledges the support of his TIAA retirement monies for financial backing...). He takes "formality" from its ambiguous status and breathes new life into its utility and functionality through some interesting cases and a terrific tour of the literature. Very nice....
Next in the stack are two works by Christopher Hood....

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Comments on "Reform and formality..."


Blogger meditations71 said ... (5:20 PM) : 

I see we may have some overlapping reading interests. I found Ben Ross Schneider's work quite useful when I did my PhD, on state-market relations and developmental policy making in Southern Africa. His work did not cover African cases, but the theoretical framework was fairly transportable from the Asian and Latin American countries on which he and his contributors worked in the 1990s. I had not come across this relatively new volume he's co-edited before.


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