Wednesday 24 March 2021
11.00 - 12.15
De/professionalization of Political and Administrative Elites: Historical Turning Points in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Julia A. Bavouzet :
Realizing the Professionalization. The Case of the Hungarian Ministerial Personnel (1867-1918)
Elites and Forerunners
Andrei Florin Sora
Judit Pál, Vlad Popovici
During the dualist era, major laws have been enacted in order to professionalize the Hungarian administration (1883:I on qualification, 1885:XI on pension, 1893:IV on salary). Yet the regime had failed to achieve a Dienstpragmatik, which would have meant the acknowledgment of a real “Beamten”-status. Moreover, since the Compromise ministerial bureaucracy ... (Show more)
During the dualist era, major laws have been enacted in order to professionalize the Hungarian administration (1883:I on qualification, 1885:XI on pension, 1893:IV on salary). Yet the regime had failed to achieve a Dienstpragmatik, which would have meant the acknowledgment of a real “Beamten”-status. Moreover, since the Compromise ministerial bureaucracy could emerge as a professional body, and yet county administration remained the preserve of a gentry middle-class elected among local nobility. Besides, particular attention was addressed to the academic training of civil servants leading to the formation of a separate administrative cursus among the law faculties, yet no professional school for civil servants was created. This transitory period of the second half of the 19th century thus offers an interesting turning point in the complex phenomenon of professionalization, revealing the important achievements of the liberal regime as well as some of its contradictions.
In this communication, I would like to address two specific issues. The first one concerns the realization of the professionalization inside the ministerial administration. What does the theoretical concept of professionalization mean in the reality of the offices, and how can it be measured? This would lead us to question both the endeavour of the regime to build a legal framework (laws, regulations, codes) and the existing gap between legal norms and everyday reality of the practices.
The second one concerns the arrival of engineers at the turn of the century, challenging the traditional law-trained Konzeptsbeamten in some technical fields of the ministerial administration. Did this technocrats cause a renewal among the traditional elite, leading to a broadening of the social recruitment? In other words: to what extend did the professionalization cause a bourgeoisification of the ministerial personnel?
Ministerial bureaucracy indeed offers a key entry to questioning the professionalization of the administration. Based on a more than hundred-year-old tradition of Josephinism perpetuated through the dicasteria, they offer the very reference model followed for example by private employees or magántisztvisel?. And still, by the end of the Monarchy, their professionalization is not fully realized. (Show less)
Therese Garstenauer :
Servants of Many Masters Revisited – a Multivariate Analysis of Biographical Data of Austrian High Officials (1918 – 1945)
Heads of departments in ministries (“Sektionschefs”) were and still are the most senior civil servants in the Austrian public administration. In my contribution, I analyse the impacts of multiple major political changes on this group. Using the biographical data of all heads of departments who were on active service in ... (Show more)
Heads of departments in ministries (“Sektionschefs”) were and still are the most senior civil servants in the Austrian public administration. In my contribution, I analyse the impacts of multiple major political changes on this group. Using the biographical data of all heads of departments who were on active service in the period from 1918 to 1945, I will outline a collective biography of this professional group. These data have been collected and published over 20 years ago in a book called “Servants of many masters”. I will provide a fresh look at them by analysing them with multivariate statistical techniques. This will allow for a comprehensive comparative perspective on the elite of Austrian civil servants, synchronically as well as diachronically. It will become obvious how apart from professional skills and education, national, political and also racial criteria were crucial for someone’s eligibility for the highest position in state administration. The prosopographical approach will be complemented by discussing typical and exceptional individual cases. On the one hand, the examples of senior civil servants show that in politically turbulent times there can be clear deviations from a regular and consistent career as traditionally associated with civil service. On the other, it is surprising to see how much continuity of elite personnel can be found – at least in some cases – in a time of massive change. (Show less)
Silvia Marton :
How to Evaluate Merit? Debates around the Professionalization of the Executive in Romania (1866?1914)
My previous research analyzed the difficulties of the functional differentiation of the political, administrative and cultural roles of the Romanian elite at the end of the 19th century (Marton 2017), and the role of clientelism in the professionalization of politics (Marton 2014a). I have also examined the continuity across parties ... (Show more)
My previous research analyzed the difficulties of the functional differentiation of the political, administrative and cultural roles of the Romanian elite at the end of the 19th century (Marton 2017), and the role of clientelism in the professionalization of politics (Marton 2014a). I have also examined the continuity across parties and electoral cycles of electoral deviance and the panoply of procedures for fraud, and its condemnation by the protagonists themselves, in the attempt to understand the nature of the Romanian political regime from 1866 to 1914 (Marton 2019, 2018, 2014b).
But other questions remained unanswered so far. How to apprehend the discursive fact of the denunciation made by the historical actors themselves (members of parliament in particular) in a parliamentary and census-based regime, and in the era of liberalism before democracy (Kahan 2003)? What were the criteria used to denounce electoral practices, political parties and even politics?
Drawing on Kari Palonen’s (2005 and 2019) insightful analysis on the importance of parliamentary rhetoric, thinking and temporality, and on parliamentarianism as a style of politics for which acts are primarily words, my current research inquires the rhetorical and institutional construction of ‘merit’.
‘Merit’ has two historically and conceptually ambiguous dimensions. It entails both specific competence (expertise) and dedication to the common good. The assumption of this contribution is that there are no objective or external criteria for measuring the common good at the end of the 19th century, and that ‘merit’ is built in relation to historically contingent values. ‘Corruption’ was not yet the opposite of expertise or ‘merit’ (as it is today), but of moral behavior. Since the personal characteristics of the individuals were at stake, by their nature, these traits were subject to criticism and controversy.
Considering the longer temporality of politics and of government action (as opposed to the short-term temporality of electoral politics I have studied thus far), the aim here (1) is to grasp the gradual end of the rhetorical paradigm of parliamentarism and the emergence of the age of (more professionalized) governmental action and politics. Spiru Haret personified this turning point. He became inspector general of schools in 1883 and general secretary at the Ministry of Education in 1885. From 1897 to 1910 he was Minister of Public Instruction. He built both the institutional architecture and mechanism for assessing ‘merit’ and the standards for ‘merit’ (normal schools, exams, competitions, professional associations and publications etc.). Since my assumption is that ‘merit’ is historically contingent and built by institutions, by state decisions, by a school system, etc., the second aim (2) is to study the actual conditions of government work and decision-making in the Ministry of Public Instruction during Haret’s terms in office. More generally, this contribution inquires the historical make-up of the autonomy of the political space and the executive and administrative decision-making at the turn f the 19th-20th centuries in Romania. (Show less)
Judit Pál, Vlad Popovici :
The Professionalization of the Administrative Elite in Transylvania after 1918
In the course of the 19th century, socio-economic evolutions, as well as changes in state governance and policies have accelerated the process of professionalization in multiple areas, including public administration. In dualist Hungary, although the level of self-administration of the counties (middle-level administrative units) was on a downward trend, the ... (Show more)
In the course of the 19th century, socio-economic evolutions, as well as changes in state governance and policies have accelerated the process of professionalization in multiple areas, including public administration. In dualist Hungary, although the level of self-administration of the counties (middle-level administrative units) was on a downward trend, the election of county officials by the local representative bodies remained in force until World War I. The state intervened however, by normalizing the conditions to be fulfilled by the candidates. Starting from the 1880s, discussions on modernization and professionalization in the public administration have become more frequent, and there have been some attempts to turn the county administration under governmental control, but without real effects. By and large the system has remained the same until the end of the First World War.
The political events of 1918 led, in the territories that belonged to Hungary and came under the administration, and then to be part of Romania, to major changes in the body of the county officials. A large number of Hungarian civil servants from before 1918 left their offices or were sent to retirement, being generally replaced by Romanians. This process implied changes in the new officials’ level of training, experience in public administration, attitude towards political actors, competence and interests. The historical literature on the topic supports the image of a general decrease in the level of indicators defining the degree of professionalization. Our research so far reveals that the situation needs a thorough analysis, focused on the specificities of each particular indicator, before drawing conclusions. In our paper, we will analyse and compare the two periods both in terms of legal framework and its actual enforcement, and by means of prosopographical analyses of the body of county officials, in order to understand to what extent the radical changes of the administrative elites brought by the war can also be interpreted in the sense of professionalization / deprofessionalization. (Show less)