Unmasking Administrative Evil

5th Edition

Danny L. Balfour, Guy B. Adams, Ashley E. Nickels

Published August 14, 2019
Textbook - 220 Pages
ISBN 9781138362093 - CAT# K396405

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The relationship between evil and public affairs, as well as other fields and professions in public life, has come to the fore as institutions of government seek new ways to operate in an environment of extreme mistrust. Unmasking Administrative Evil, 5th Edition argues that the tendency toward administrative evil, as manifested in acts of dehumanization and genocide, is deeply woven into the identity of public affairs. Indeed, ordinary people may simply act appropriately in their organizational role—in essence, just doing what those around them would agree they should be doing—and at the same time, participate in what a critical and reasonable observer, usually well after the fact, would call evil. Even worse, under conditions of moral inversion, ordinary people can all too easily engage in acts of administrative evil while believing that what they are doing is not only correct, but in fact, good. This 5th edition offers important updates, including:

  • A thorough discussion of contemporary virtue ethics as the field has evolved to offer an alternative to technical/rational ethics.
  • An all-new three-part structure (What is Administrative Evil?, History and Cases, and The Future of Ethics in Praetorian Times) designed to aid in course organization and instruction.
  • All-new cases, including an examination of the Flint water disaster, to provide contemporary examples of how populations can be marginalized and harmed by administrative processes that are blind to their consequences until it is too late.

Laying the groundwork for a more ethical and democratic public life – one that recognizes its potential for evil, and avoids state-sponsored dehumanization and destruction – Unmasking Administrative Evil, 5th Edition is required reading for all students of administrative ethics and public service ethics, as well those in other administrative sciences.


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