What to do with Communist Bureaucrats from Bureaucratic Communism: The German Case

  • Gregg O. Kvistad


Many studies of communist regimes have relied heavily on Max Weber’s theory of the routinisation of chiliastic rule. These studies suggest that breaks with the inequalities and cleavages of traditional societies have been led by revolutionary militants who win mass support for radical programmes of wealth redistribution. Upon coming to power, these militants (‘chiefs,’ in Weber’s terminology) create the institutional means to deliver their revolutionary programmes with party/ bureaucratic élites (‘administrative staff’) that not only implement policy, but also serve as a reservoir of support and protection for the ruler.1 These studies further suggest that a tension between the chiliastic revolutionary vision and its institutionalisation will typically develop and that bureaucratic routinisers will ultimately hold sway. ‘Neo-traditional stagnation’ is the result, with huge institutional apparatuses maintaining status and privilege at the expense of both political freedom and economic viability.2


Federal Republic Civil Service Administrative Staff Postal Service Paradise Lost 
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  1. 1.
    Andrew C. Janos, ‘Social Science, Communism, and the Dynamics of Political Change’, World Politics, vol. 44, October, 1991, pp. 82–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Giuseppe DiPalma, ‘Legitimation From the Top to Civil Society: Politico-Cultural Change in Eastern Europe’, World Politics, vol. 44, October, 1991, p. 54.Google Scholar
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    Kenneth H. F. Dyson, The State Tradition in Western Europe: The Study of an Idea and an Institution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980 ).Google Scholar
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    T. Hitiris, European Community Economics, 2nd. ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991 ), pp. 251–71.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© New York University Press 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregg O. Kvistad

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