Depicting Public Servants in Authoritarian Regimes
- 10 Downloads
This chapter examines how public servants in authoritarian regimes are depicted in the media. The site of enquiry is Central Asia. It begins by defining what a “public servant” means in this post-Soviet context and challenges the conventional boundaries between elected politicians and career public servants. This, in turn, casts doubt on the traditional political-administrative dichotomy as a way of considering their respective roles. Using content analysis of critical incidents involving public servants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan, the authors juxtapose reports from the state media, independent sources, and social media to compare how officials are portrayed. The chapter concludes that state media is used to deify prominent public servants. Social media, on the other hand, while offering an alternative voice for citizens to hold public servants to account, is used in malign ways to reinforce control and a mechanism to cynically court international public approbation that authoritarian regimes are becoming more open, transparent, and accountable.
KeywordsAuthoritarian regimes Central Asia Political and administrative elites Public servants
- Baidildayeva, D. 2018. Internet censorship in Kazakhstan: More pervasive than you may think, Open Democracy: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/internet-censorship-in-kazakhstan/. Accessed 15 Mar 2019.
- Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index. 2018. https://www.bti-project.org/en/home/. Accessed 18 Mar 2019.
- Dukalskis, A. 2018. Authoritarian public sphere: Legitimation and autocratic power in North Korea, Burma and China. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Dukenbaev, A., and V. Tanyrykov. 2001. Politico–administrative relations in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. In Politico-administrative relations: Who rules ? ed. T. Verheijen, 175–202. Bratislava: NISPAcee.Google Scholar
- Freedom House. 2019. Freedom in the world. https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/ABRIDGED_FH_FITW_2019_Report_FINAL.pdf. Accessed 2 June 2019.
- Freedom House, Freedom on the Net. 2018. https://freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-net. Accessed 15 Mar 2019.
- Freedom House, Nations in Transit. 2018. https://freedomhouse.org/report-types/nations-transit. Accessed 12 Mar 2019.
- Frolova, E., T. Ryabova, and O. Rogach. 2017. Bureaucrat image in Russia. Journal of Advanced Research in Law and Economics 8.1 (23): 52–58.Google Scholar
- Habermas, Jürgen. 1991. The structural transformation of the public sphere: An inquiry into a category of bourgeois society. Trans. Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Internet World Statistics. 2018. https://www.internetworldstats.com. Accessed 3 Mar 2019.
- Janenova, S., and Knox, C. 2019. Combatting corruption in Kazakhstan: A role for ethics commissioners?. Public Administration and DevelopmentGoogle Scholar
- Knox, C. 2019b. Development evaluation in authoritarian states. Development Policy ReviewGoogle Scholar
- O’Connor, K., Knox, C., and Janenova, S. Bureaucrats, Authoritarianism, and Role Conceptions. 2019. Review of Public Personnel Administration:0734371X1988800Google Scholar
- Peters, G. 1988. Comparing public bureaucracies: Problems of theory and method. Alabama: The University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
- Rystina, I., A. Sadu, B. Bulegenova, M. Onuchko, and A. Kozhakhmetova. 2017. The state service of the Republic of Kazakhstan at a new stage of development. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues 20 (3): 1–11.Google Scholar
- Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. 2018. https://www.transparency.org/cpi2018. Accessed 18 Mar 2019.
- United Nations in Kazakhstan. 2018. http://kz.one.un.org/content/unct/kazakhstan/en/home.html. Accessed 10 Mar 2019.