Bureaucratizing democracy, democratizing bureaucracy

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23 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the relationship between how rationality is conceived and how democracy is practiced in the Bureau of Reclamation, a water development agency in the Department of Interior. The efforts of some inside the agency to institutionalize rational decision-making models, partly in response to new environmental law, expanded the number and range of interest groups that participated in its decisions by incorporating their preferences into their models for evaluating plans. But the terms under which people could express their values and interests were strictly controlled in ways that some felt misrepresented their concerns. How we conceive of rationality has important implications for how and which people are included in bureaucratic decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1109
Number of pages33
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law


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