Different Meanings of the Politicization of Bureaucracy as a Concept: An Analysis Proposal based on Linguistics

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Ankara Haci Bayram Veli Univ

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The politicization of bureaucracy, which indicates one of the most significant aspects of politics-bureaucracy relations, had been at the center of studies leading to the establishment of Public Administration Discipline, and has always maintained its importance and popularity as a subject matter since the beginning of the 20th century. Though it was used as a synonym of partisanship by Classical Approach, the politicization of bureaucracy, by virtue of Bureaucratic Politics Approach and Principle-Agent Approach that shed light on the different aspects of the politics-bureaucracy relations, gained two new meanings by the 1980s. While first meaning underlines harmony and complementarity between politics-bureaucracy, the second points a responsive and competent bureaucracy. Such a case, as it indicates one single signifier for three signifieds from the point of semiotics, has prevented us to demarcate an obvious distinction between different meanings of the concept. In order to ease analyzing and comprehending, this study, which aims to present three different meanings of the politicization of bureaucracy, claims that these different meanings can be examined via three types of antonyms in linguistics. While first meaning is related with complimentary antonym, second and third are matched with relational antonym and graded antonym respectively.


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Politicization of bureaucracy, classical approach, bureaucratic politics approach, principle-agent approach, antonymy


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