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Everyday Life in a Ministry: Public Administration as Anthropology


Rhodes, RAW, Everyday Life in a Ministry: Public Administration as Anthropology, American Review of Public Administration, 35, (1) pp. 3-25. ISSN 0275-0740 (2005) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright © 2005 by Sage Publications.

DOI: doi:10.1177/0275074004271716


This article seeks to answer two questions: What do we know about the work of ministers and permanent secretaries? How do we know what we know about ministers and permanent secretaries? To do so, it describes a research project on life at the top of British government departments and discusses the issues raised by trying to do research and write a political anthropology of the daily life of ministers and civil servants. The article has four sections. First, it surveys briefly the existing literature on ministers and top civil servants. Second, it describes the scope and methods of the project. Third, it reports some early findings. Finally, it reflects on the distinctive contribution of ethnographic research to understanding British government and the problems of elite interviewing, nonparticipant observation, and research on the powerful.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ethnography • British government • ministers • permanent secretaries
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Public administration
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Rhodes, RAW (Professor Rod Rhodes)
ID Code:58620
Year Published:2005
Web of Science® Times Cited:56
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2009-10-16
Last Modified:2012-03-30

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