Representativ byråkrati. En studie om ledande kommunala minoritetsadministratörers företrädarskap

Abstract: The theory of representative bureaucracy suggests that the presence of underprivileged social groups, such as women and ethnic minorities, within the public workforce will lead to a more responsive political process, reflecting a wider range of interests. This theory posits that the social background of the individual public administrator affects their values and policy-preferences. Because administrative discretion enables public administrators to influence policy-making and implementation processes, these values are considered to have an impact on the decisions being made in politics. In order to expand the understanding of the importance of representation within the public administration, the aim of this study is to focus a national context and a type of administration rarely studied in the field of representative bureaucracy: top-level local government minority administrators in Sweden. The research questions are whether and how ethnic minority administrators in top-level positions in Swedish local government advocate the interests of minority groups. By analyzing the activities of twelve local government administrators in executive and expert positions, the study also aims to examine the circumstances in which minority administrators have the intentions and the discretion to advocate minority groups. The results reveal that the minority administrators are, under given circum-stances, prone to advocate the interests of minority groups through seven practices of advocacy and a symbolic representation. Evolving prior theories, the results advance specific factors at individual, organizational and societal level that activate or de-activate advocacy. Advocacy is contingent upon the individual projects of the minority administrators, their position and power resources, the politicization of the multi-ethnic issues, support-structures and ethnic conflicts in the locality. The results further show that advocacy is contingent upon the racialized construction of “immigrants” and “swedishness” in the informal institutions of the municipal organization. Evolving understanding of the theory of representative bureaucracy, this study provides empirical support of its relevance for European democracies and further indicates the importance of diversity within public administration.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.