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date: 07 December 2023

p. 754. Leave it to the Experts: Administrative Rationalismlocked

p. 754. Leave it to the Experts: Administrative Rationalismlocked

  • John S. DryzekJohn S. DryzekProfessor of Political Science and Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, Australian National University


This chapter examines administrative rationalism, a discourse of environmental problem solving which captures the dominant governmental response to the onset of environmental crisis. Administrative rationalism emphasizes the role of the expert rather than the citizen or producer/consumer in social problem solving, and which stresses social relationships of hierarchy rather than equality or competition. The chapter first considers the manifestations of administrative rationalism in various institutions and practices, including environmental impact assessment, planning, and rationalistic policy analysis techniques, before discussing the discourse analysis of administrative rationalism. It then explains the justification of administrative rationalism and problems of administrative rationalism, caused in part by its association with bureaucracy. It also explores the implications of the transition from government to governance for administrative rationalism.

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