Introduction: The Social Dynamics of Daily Inspection Work

  • Steven Van de Walle
  • Nadine Raaphorst


Inspectors traditionally represented the hard hand of the state. They represent a powerful central government that has the power to enforce rules and levy fines. The interaction between an inspector and an inspectee is one characterized by unequal power and large uncertainly. At the frontline of government, inspectors combine their role of enforcer with that of a social worker and an educator. They are street-level bureaucrats with a crucial role in enforcing rules and laws and in steering citizens, organizations and companies into a desired direction. In the interaction between inspectors and inspectees, and in each of the chapters of this book, one sees a vivid picture of all the difficulties of governing a society and of working as a bureaucrat.


Street-level bureaucracy Inspection work Inspector Uncertainty 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Governance InstituteKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Institute of Public AdministrationLeiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands

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