What normative standards are able to guide administrative action? Irrespective of which era or administrative culture we examine, it is clear that administration is never merely dispassionately enforcing legal norms or simply implementing political programmes. Rather, administrations operate within a network of different normativities. These do not have to consist of a law-like, differentiated programme of norms nor necessarily have binding force deriving from judicial enforceability or the authority of higher political instances. Instead, these normativities can be diffuse and informal, and sometimes they only become visible when conflicts over norms erupt.
Administration as the site of encounters between different ideas about what can be regarded as 'right' and 'appropriate' thus proves particularly difficult to comprehend in all its complexity. Such contradictory entanglements can manifest in the administrative agencies themselves, in the relationship between different agencies, or in the relationship between the administration and the administrative audience. Contributions mapping out this landscape are now being collected for the special issue of Administory: 'Administrative Multinormativity', edited by Peter Becker (Vienna) and Peter Collin (Frankfurt am Main). Case studies involving 19th- and 20th-century administration should allow us to examine how cooperation and conflict between different normativities were practiced, how new normative arrangements emerged, and how normative conflicts were made manageable.
The workshop will be held in German and English.