Managing Political Conflict in a Democratizing Polity

Thomas Rohringer
2021 Austrian Journal of Historical Studies  
This article explores the role of trust in the administrative reform debates in Cisleithania between 1890 and 1918 through the lens of bureaucratic encounters. For politicians, civil servants and scholars, administrative reform played a crucial role in mitigating what they saw as the negative consequences of democratic politics: partisan conflict, which increasingly obstructed legislative work from the late 1890s. As administrative reformers perceived democratic politics not as a source of
more » ... imation but the cause of a crisis of governability, they looked for other ways to legitimate the imperial state. They propagated that the state administration needed to acquire the population's trust as a form of legitimation independent from representative institutions and argued for regular contact and personal interactions between civil servants and the populace at the local level. However, part of their concept of trust was a veiled distrust of citizens as political and bureaucratic subjects.
doi:10.25365/oezg-2021-32-1-4 doaj:036c0423141646cc83a1581f53e38f36 fatcat:ewbbhmt2u5hb5cnu4jehdvssxm