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The Politics of the Public Encounter

What Happens When Citizens Meet the State

9781800889323 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Peter Hupe, Visiting Professor, Public Governance Institute, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
Publication Date: November 2022 ISBN: 978 1 80088 932 3 Extent: c 416 pp
On the ground floor of government, citizens interact with teachers, medical staff, police officers and other professionals in public service. It is during these encounters that laws, public policies and professional guidelines gain further substance and form. In this insightful book, Peter Hupe brings together expert contributions from scholars across the globe to study the social mechanisms behind these public encounters.

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On the ground floor of government, citizens interact with teachers, medical staff, police officers and other professionals in public service. It is during these encounters that laws, public policies and professional guidelines gain further substance and form. In this insightful book, Peter Hupe brings together expert contributions from scholars across the globe to study the social mechanisms behind these public encounters.

Integrating empirical case studies with cutting-edge theory, The Politics of the Public Encounter investigates what happens when citizens meet the state. Adopting a realist perspective, contributors examine the dichotomy between what is expected to happen and what actually happens at the street level of government. Chapters explore topics such as rule application and individual agency, the relationship between discretion and accountability, the consequences of digitalization and citizens’ impression management. Hupe concludes with a reflective essay and gives an account of what has been left aside, advancing a clear agenda for future research into the relationship between citizen and state.

Advanced students and scholars of law, political science, public administration, sociology and philosophy interested in the mechanisms behind the citizen/state encounter will benefit from the book’s multi-disciplinary approach. Its realist insights will also be an essential reference point for public service professionals.
Critical Acclaim
‘What happens when citizens meet the state? This excellent book provides a breadth of theoretically and empirically informed approaches to that question from leading scholars in the field. Drawing on insights from different kinds of frontline encounters, it is a reminder of why the street-level continues to be at the centre of public policy scholarship.’
– Catherine Needham, University of Birmingham, UK

'In this thoughtful and wide-ranging book, Hupe and his colleagues take a fresh look at a fundamentally important puzzle: What happens when citizens meet government? They paint a rich portrait of politics and policy from the bottom up, not only about government’s political responsiveness but also its accountability to those who pay taxes and vote. The book is full of insights about public administration as well as the broader framework of the most important challenges facing government today.'
– Donald F. Kettl, Emeritus Professor, University of Maryland, US

‘The Politics of the Public Encounter unpacks an evolving and increasingly complex, sometimes confronting, interaction between citizens and their governments. This book helps to understand how changing communication processes, transforming street-level governance, and politically disconnected, even un-civic and sometimes polarizing citizens are affecting crucial citizen/state encounters.’
– Geert Bouckaert, KU Leuven Governance Institute, Belgium
Contributors
Contributors include: Maaike Breedveld, Nicola Gale, Keith Hawkins, Peter Hupe, Federica Infantino, Marlot Kuiper, Eline Linthorst, Tone Maia Liodden, Kim Loyens, Peter Mascini, Matthew McKenna, Mirko Noordegraaf, Lieke Oldenhof, B. Guy Peters, Nadine Raaphorst, Carina Schott, Trui Steen, Carola van Eijk, Gijs van Oenen, Karin van Wingerde, Kirstine Zinck Pedersen
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