Dictionnaire de la Science Politique

Authors: Hermet, Badie, Birnbaum & Braud
Summary: In about 405 words this entry describes the most notable definition of this concept, that is the weberian one. According to it - in his idealtypic version - administration is based on a meritocratic logic of career's advancement and on a gerarchical, impersonal and functional definition and distribution of roles. Weber argues that a specialized knowledge, reconductable to bureaucracy, is the first sign of a modern state origin, whereas Marx perceives in it the presence of a parassitarian corps through which the state oppresses people. Again, in Weber's assumption, there is a tight relationship between capitalism and bureacracy, being the former the rational basis of the latter. By wondering on the bureaucracy/state relations in socialist countries, Weber stresses also those phenomena of inefficiency and clientelism on which literature will long discuss, extending the analysis to the implications for democracy of a competence and functional hierarchical based society.