The Post-Communist Transformation: An Opportunity for the Economization of the Local Public Sector? The Case of Urban Governance Reforms in East Germany

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Valérie Lozac'h


Research on state and administration reforms emphasizes the various processes of economization, involving privatization, deregulation and managerialization measures. Following the diffusionist paradigm, these evolutions are ascribed to a neoliberal ideological convergence, said to prevail all over Europe. Such analyses usually neglect social practices and interactions involved in the diffusion processes. This paper offers a sociological study focusing on the actors and the activities that contribute to the implementation of a new governance model in the public sector. Relying on empirical investigations conducted in the former GDR, I examine how reformers from different professional fields have promoted these doctrines at the local level. The post-communist space is generally regarded as a breeding ground for a new governance model as state and bureaucracy were discredited. This analysis shows, however, that the impact of economical and managerial doctrines in the transformation of the East German local public sector has actually been rather limited.

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Author Biography

Valérie Lozac'h

Senior lecturer in political science at the University of Strasbourg, Research fellow at the laboratory SAGE (Societies, Actors and Government in Europe)
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