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When the state meets the street : public service and moral agency / Bernardo Zacka.

By: Zacka, Bernardo, 1983- [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017Description: xi, 337 pages ; 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780674545540 (hbk: alk. paper).Subject(s): Civil service -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Northeastern States | Municipal officials and employees -- Northeastern States | Local government -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Northeastern States | Northeastern States -- Officials and employeesDDC classification: 172.2 ZAC
Contents:
Street level discretion -- Three pathologies: the indifferent, the enforcer, and the caregiver -- A gymnastics of the self: coping with the everyday pressures of street-level work -- When the rules run out: informal taxonomies and peer-level accountability -- Impossible situations: on the breakdown of moral integrity at the frontlines of public service.
Summary: When the State Meets the Street probes the complex moral lives of street-level bureaucrats: the frontline social and welfare workers, police officers, and educators who represent government's human face to ordinary citizens. Too often dismissed as soulless operators, these workers wield a significant margin of discretion and make decisions that considerably affect people's lives. By combining insights from political theory with ethnographic fieldwork as a receptionist in an urban anti-poverty agency, Bernardo Zacka shows us firsthand the predicament in which these public servants are caught up. Public policy consists of rules and regulations, but its implementation depends on how street-level bureaucrats interpret them and exercise discretionary judgment. These workers are expected to act as sensible moral agents in a working environment that is notoriously challenging and that conspires against them. Pressed to cope with the pressures of everyday work, they often and unknowingly settle for reductive conceptions of their responsibilities. Zacka examines the factors that contribute to this erosion of moral sensibility and what it takes to remain a balanced moral agent in such adverse conditions.--
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Books Books Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore
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172.2 ZAC 012694 (Browse shelf) Available 012694

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Street level discretion -- Three pathologies: the indifferent, the enforcer, and the caregiver -- A gymnastics of the self: coping with the everyday pressures of street-level work -- When the rules run out: informal taxonomies and peer-level accountability -- Impossible situations: on the breakdown of moral integrity at the frontlines of public service.

When the State Meets the Street probes the complex moral lives of street-level bureaucrats: the frontline social and welfare workers, police officers, and educators who represent government's human face to ordinary citizens. Too often dismissed as soulless operators, these workers wield a significant margin of discretion and make decisions that considerably affect people's lives. By combining insights from political theory with ethnographic fieldwork as a receptionist in an urban anti-poverty agency, Bernardo Zacka shows us firsthand the predicament in which these public servants are caught up. Public policy consists of rules and regulations, but its implementation depends on how street-level bureaucrats interpret them and exercise discretionary judgment. These workers are expected to act as sensible moral agents in a working environment that is notoriously challenging and that conspires against them. Pressed to cope with the pressures of everyday work, they often and unknowingly settle for reductive conceptions of their responsibilities. Zacka examines the factors that contribute to this erosion of moral sensibility and what it takes to remain a balanced moral agent in such adverse conditions.--

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