NWO project "Under Construction. The Genesis of Public Value Systems"

The problem with studying public values is that they often remain implicit, seldom explicitly debated. However, what is unacceptable is often publicly spelt out. Therefore, in the program " Under construction: the genesis of public value systems", corruption scandals are used to trace shifts in the values underpinning public administration, and in the way public administration negotiates the problem of the mutual incompatibility of values that underpin administrative activity. The subject is approached from a historical angle, as it is only on the basis of in-depth (detailed) research into particular (historical) debates that we can expect to find material that substantiates, complements and corrects the existing abstract conceptions. Case material from three periods is  studied: 1650-1750, 1750-1850, and 1850-1950, to reconstruct thinking on values within government. This approach is combined with a study of 'value-laden' thought on the normative contours of public administration.

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The project consists of a close cooperation between: the Department of History (Chairs of Early Modern History and Contemporary History), and the Department of Public Administration & Organization Science, Strategic chair on integrity of governance, both of the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, and the Department of Public Administration, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics of Public Administration of the Universiteit Leiden. It will run from 2006-2009.

It consists of  three subprojects:

Subproject 1: ‘The ancien régime in optima forma (1650-1750),’ PhD student Michel Hoenderboom, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Public Administration & Organization Science. Supervisors: Prof. Dr. L.W.J.C. Huberts, Dr. F.P. Wagenaar

Subproject 2: ‘The ancien régime in transition (1750-1850),’ PhD student Antoon Kerkhoff, Universiteit Leiden, Department of Public Administration. Supervisors: Prof. Dr. M.R. Rutgers, Prof. Dr. J. van Eijnatten

Subproject 3. ‘The ‘modern’ constitutional state (1850-1950),’ PhD student Ronald Kroeze, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of History. Supervisors: Prof. Dr. J.C. Kennedy, Prof. Dr. M.R. Rutgers

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