What is Islamic Public Administration and why should we study it in the “Second World”?

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Wolfgang Drechsler


This essay argues that, although for an important part of the “second world”, Islam is a key paradigm both historically and currently, Islamic Public Administration studies have been neglected in the region. This is highly problematic if there are, as is proposed, (at least) three paradigms of governance and especially public administration: Chinese, Western and Islamic, and if 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. After the development of a model, the essay deals with Islamic Public Administration and then specifically with that of the Ottoman Empire, as this had both a highly sophisticated administrative system that is often underrated and forms the main legacy of most “second-world” Islamic countries. In conclusion, pros and cons of such a perspective are discussed, and a research program is suggested.

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