Skip to main content

A Profession or a Position? Recruitments and Careers of the Territorial Representatives of the State in Nowadays Europe

  • 86 Accesses

Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)

Abstract

This chapter examines the careers of the territorial representatives of the State. By analysing their trajectories, we identify three ideal-types. The first is the ‘career prefect’, who follows standardized, codified career paths marked out by expected professionalism. In France, Italy, Romania or Turkey, they even belong to an administrative ‘corps’, with its specific traditions and social codes. In such cases, the prefectoral career is similar to a system where the prefectoral esprit de corps normalizes the life of/in the prefectoral institution. The second ideal-type is the ‘functional prefect’, to be found in federal countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland) where territorial administrators do not represent the Nation-State but the federated entities and have a low-profile role. Accessing that position comes after a long administrative or political career, the ‘socio-political capillarity’ of the candidates playing a major role (municipal or provincial political experience; responsibilities in parties and unions, etc.). The third ideal-type is the ‘dignified prefect’, to be found in Nordic countries: the office-holders access to the dignity/position of county governors as a result of a national (not local) political career, rewarded by their appointment as governors entrusted with an intense and non-partisan mission of incarnation, compromise facilitator and go-between.

Keywords

  • Prefectoral career
  • Europe
  • Sociology of the professions
  • Senior civil service
  • Political and administrative elites
  • Ideal-type

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-59396-4_7
  • Chapter length: 20 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-59396-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    All original citations that were in French have been translated into English.

  2. 2.

    Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties (Ministry of the Interior and Home Relations of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) et Ministerie van Algemene Zaken (Ministry of General Affairs).

  3. 3.

    Ministerio de Politíca Territorial y Función Pública (Ministry of Territorial Policy and Civil Service).

  4. 4.

    This is the case, for example, in the Canton of Valais, which, in its draft constitution tabled in 2012 and rejected by popular vote in 2015, proposed to remove the districts and prefects in the Canton.

  5. 5.

    Understood here in a broad sense, that is to say not only serving as ministers, but also in their entourages (special advisors and Chiefs-of-Staff). For an analysis of the ministerial worlds, see Eymeri-Douzans et al. (2015).

  6. 6.

    We are adapting here the expression that the author uses: the “bureaucracy of honors”.

  7. 7.

    In spite of many specificities exposed in the following country chapters to this opus, the daily work of these high territorial administrators obliges and empowers them to handle a crisscrossing of missions: embodiment of the State (protocol authority), promotion of the rule of law and legal control over the acts taken by provincial/local authorities, maintenance of security and public order, crisis management, administrative police, implementation of national and European public policies, territorial planning, relationship with local politicians, …

  8. 8.

    This is the case, apart from the well-known case of the French ENA, of the Italian Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione [SNA], which recruits and trains senior officials, including future prefects. Inspired from the ENA, placed under the authority of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the SNA follows its operating and selection procedure, via an entrance examination, with a very high level of selectivity. In 2012, out of 10,000 initial candidates, and 4,000 students finally turning up for the concours, only 26 were selected. Out of these 26 students that were trained—for a budget of 21 Million Euros—only nine obtained an appointment within the Civil Service. In September 2018, the last call for applications for the entrance examination opened more than 140 places.

  9. 9.

    Even if we have integrated (cf. supra) these States into the model of career prefects insofar as their professional trajectories fit in with many aspects of the career principle.

References

  • Abbott, A. (1988). The system of professions: An essay on the division of expert labor. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Birnbaum, P. (1984). Dimensions du pouvoir. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Boltanski, L. (1982). Les cadres. La formation d’un groupe social. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boltanski, L., & Thévenot, L. (1991). De la justification. Les économies de la grandeur. Paris: Gallimard.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P., Chamboredon, J.-C., & Passeron, J.-C. (1980). Le métier de sociologue. Paris: Éditions de l’EHESS.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P. (1982). Les rites comme actes d’institution. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 43, 58–63.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P. (1989). La noblesse d’État. Grandes écoles et esprit de corps. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chagnollaud, D. (1991). Le premier des ordres. Les hauts fonctionnaires XVIIIe – XIXe siècle. Paris: Fayard.

    Google Scholar 

  • Charle, C. (1980a). Le recrutement des hauts fonctionnaires en 1901. Annales ESC, 35(2), 380–409.

    Google Scholar 

  • Charle, C. (1980b). Les hauts fonctionnaires en France au XIXe siècle. Paris: Gallimard.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chevallier, J. (1999). Présentation. In Y. Poirmeur & P. Mazet (Eds.), Le métier politique en représentations (pp. 9–16). Paris: L’Harmattan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Christensen, T., & Lægreid, P. (Eds.). (2007). Transcending New Public Management: The Transformation of Public Sector Reforms. Adelshot: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dogan, M. (1967). Les filières de la carrière politique en France. Revue française de sociologie, 8, 468–492.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Draï, R. (1986). Qu’est-ce qu’un haut-fonctionnaire? Contribution à l’histoire des sources idéologiques du modèle administratif français. In CURAPP (Ed.), La haute administration et la politique (pp. 223–248). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dreyfus, F. (2000). L’invention de la bureaucratie. Servir l’État en France, en Grande-Bretagne et aux États-Unis (XVIIIe – XXe siècle). Paris: La Découverte.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dreyfus F., & Eymeri-Douzans J.-M. (2012). (Eds.). Les concours administratifs en question. Revue française d’administration publique, 142, 305–306.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eymeri-Douzans, J.-M. (1999). Les gardiens de l’État. Une sociologie des énarques de ministère (PhD thesis). Paris: University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eymeri-Douzans, J.-M. (2001). La fabrique des énarques. Paris: Economica.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eymeri-Douzans, J.-M., & Pierre, J. (Eds.). (2011). Administrative Reforms and Democratic Governance. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eymeri-Douzans, J.-M., Bioy, X., & Mouton, S. (Eds.). (2015). Le règne des entourages. Cabinets et conseillers de l’exécutif. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freidson, E. (1986). Professional Powers: A Study of the Institutionnalization of Formal Knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freidson, E. (2001). Professionalism: The Third Logic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hood, C. (1991). A Public Management for All Seasons? Public Administration, 69(1), 3–19.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hughes, E. C. (1967). Men and Their Work. Glencoe: The Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hughes, E. C. (1996). Le regard sociologique. Essais choisis. Paris: Éditions de l’EHESS.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ihl, O., Kaluszynski, M., & Pollet G. (2003) (Eds.). Les sciences de gouvernement: Paris. Economica.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ihl, O. (2007). Le mérite et la République. Essai sur la société des émules. Paris: Gallimard.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laborier, P., Audren, F., Napoli, P., & Vogel, J. (Eds.). (2011). Les sciences camérales. Activités pratiques et histoire des dispositifs publics. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mény, Y. (1987). À la jonction du politique et de l’administratif: les hauts fonctionnaires. Pouvoirs, 40, 5–12.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merton, R. K. (1973). The Sociology of Science. Chicago: Chicago of University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nabais Ramos, M. (2015). Le gouverneur civil au Portugal. Paris: L’Harmattan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parsons, T. (1955). Éléments pour une sociologie de l’action. Paris: Plon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parsons, T. (1962). The Institutionnalization of Scientific Investigation. In B. Barber & W. Hirsh (Eds.), The Sociology of Science (pp. 71–94). New York and London: Free Press and Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Peters, B. G. (2001). The Future of Governing: Four Emerging Models. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pierre, J., & Ingraham, P. W. (Eds.). (2010). Comparative Administrative Change and Reform: Lessons Learned. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pollitt, C., & Bouckaert, G. (Eds.). (2011). Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis: New Public Management, Governance and the Neo-Weberian State (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sarfatti-Larson, M. (1977). The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological Analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Strauss, A. L. (1992). La dynamique des professions. In La trame de la négociation. Sociologie qualitative et interactionnisme (pp. 67–86). Paris: L’Harmattan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Suleiman, E. N. (1974). Politics, Power and Bureaucracy in France: The Administrative Elite. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Suleiman, E. N. (1978). Elites in French Society: The Politics of Survival. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tanguy, G. (2009). ‘Corps et âme de l’État’. Socio-histoire de l’institution préfectorale (1880–1940) (PhD thesis in Political Science). Paris: University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, 970 p.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thuillier, G. (2001). Pour une histoire de la bureaucratie II. Paris: CHEFF.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Weber, M. (1978). Economy and Society. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gildas Tanguy .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Eymeri-Douzans, JM., Tanguy, G. (2021). A Profession or a Position? Recruitments and Careers of the Territorial Representatives of the State in Nowadays Europe. In: Tanguy, G., Eymeri-Douzans, JM. (eds) Prefects, Governors and Commissioners. Governance and Public Management. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59396-4_7

Download citation