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North Castle Books

Unmasking Administrative Evil, Third Edition
Authored by: Guy B. Adams; Danny L. Balfour

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-2330-0 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-2331-7
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USD: $110.95 USD: $53.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 256pp. Bibliography, index.
Publication Date: May 2009.  


Description: Completely revised, and featuring a new foreword by Philip Zimbardo and a new chapter on the abuses at Abu Ghraib, this classic work examines how the modern age, with its emphasis on technical rationality, has enabled a new and dangerous form of evil. The authors argue that the tendency toward administrative evil, as manifested in acts of dehumanization and genocide, is deeply woven into the identity of public affairs, as well as other fields and professions in public life.

The common characteristic of administrative evil is that ordinary people, within their normal professional and administrative roles, can engage in acts of evil without being aware that they are doing anything wrong. Under conditions of moral inversion, people may even view their evil activity as good.

In the face of this indisputable danger, this book seeks to lay the groundwork for a more ethical and democratic public life--one that recognizes its potential for evil, and thereby creates greater possibilities for avoiding the hidden pathways that lead to state-sponsored dehumanization and destruction.

Selected Contents:

Foreword to the Third Edition, Philip Zimbardo
Foreword to the Revised Edition, Charles Perrow
Foreword to the First Edition, Curtis Ventriss
Introduction and Overview

1. The Dynamics of Evil and Administrative Evil
Modernity, Technical Rationality, and Administrative Evil
Evil in the Modern Age: Is Administrative Evil Public or Private?; Administrative Evil and Public Affairs; Dirty Hands; Hubris
Understanding Evil
The Roots of Administrative Evil: A Psychological Perspective: Distance, Perspective and Moral Disengagement; Language and Dehumanization; The Taken-for-Granted
The Social Construction of Evil
Individual, Organization, and Society

2. Compliance, Technical Rationality, and Administrative Evil
Evil and Organizations
The Social Construction of Compliance: The Stanford Prison Experiment
Modernity and the Dominance of Technical Rationality: Technical Rationality and the Evolution of Modern Professionalism; The Moral Vacuity of Technical-Rational Professionalism
Compliance in a Culture of Technical Rationality
Failing to See Administrative Evil

3. Administrative Evil Unmasked: The Holocaust and Public Service
The Holocaust and Administrative Evil: Historical Interpretations of the Holocaust and the Role of Public Service; Legalizing Evil: The German Civil Service and the Third Reich; Implementing Evil: The German Civil Service and the Holocaust
Adolf Eichmann and the Banality of Administrative Evil
Eichmann: Exceptional or Banal
Perfectly Safe Ground?

4. Administrative Evil Masked: From Mittelbau-Dora and Peenemnde to the Marshall Space Flight Center
Mittelbau-Dora: The Beginning; The Mittelwerk Factory; The Catastrophic End
Operations Overcast and Paperclip: Post-War Chaos; Denazification; Bringing Them Over
The Von Braun Team: Huntsville, Redstone, and the Marshall Space Flight Center; Saturn and Apollo
Administrative Evil

5. Organizational Dynamics and Administrative Evil: The Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA, and the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia
Organizational Dynamics and the Pathway to Administrative Evil
The Marshall Space Flight Center, Challenger, and the Pathway to Administrative Evil: A Flawed Design; NASA's History as an Organization; The Space Shuttle Program
The Challenger Disaster: An Extraordinary Launch
The Marshall Space Flight Center
The Evolution of a Destructive Organizational Culture at Marshall
The Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
Return to Flight
The Pathway to Administrative Evil

6. Public Policy and Administrative Evil
Public Policy and Problem Solving: Critiques of the Problem-Solving Approach to Public Policy
Surplus Populations and Public Policy Metaphors: Welfare Policy and Illicit Drug Policy; Immigration Policy; A Shameful Historical Precedent; Operations Overcast and Paperclip
The Evacuation and Relocation of "All Persons of Japanese Ancestry": "The Decision Nobody Made"; The Military Trump Card in Wartime; Implementation; Denouement
Surplus Populations, Moral Inversion, and Administrative Evil

7. Administrative Evil in the Twenty-First Century: Abu Ghraib, Moral Inversion, and Torture Policy
The Road to Abu Ghraib: Redefining Torture; Torture and Abuse in Interrogation Policy and Procedure
Detainee Operations in Untenable Conditions: Detailing the Abuses; A Benighted Prison; Intelligence Operations in Iraq; Blurring the Boundaries
Making Sense of the Senseless: The Individual Perpetrator
Administrative Evil and Dehumanization

8. Expiating Evil and Administrative Evil: Searching for a Basis for Public Ethics
Expiating Evil and Administrative Evil: Large Group Identity; The Myth of Pure Evil
Financial Reparations
Forgiveness and Repentance
On the Potential for Expiation
Reconstructing Public Ethics: Necessary but Not Sufficient: The Technical-Rational Approach to Public Service Ethics; The Challenge of Administrative Evil
The Context for Public Ethics: Liberal Democracy; Putting Cruelty First; Deliberative Democracy
Cruelty, Deliberation, and Administrative Evil

About the Authors

Comment(s): "On the previous edition:" --

"I highly recommend Unmasking Administrative Evil by Guy Adams and Danny Balfour. It has won just about every award given to a PA book and deservedly so." -- Mary R. Hamilton, former Executive Director, American Society for Public Administration

" Unmasking Administrative Evil is a troubling book, but a very important one that is essential reading. Guy Adams and Danny Balfour are to be congratulated for this path breaking, highly readable, and convincing study. We will all be much better off if the public administration community takes it to heart." -- David H. Rosenbloom, American University

Review(s): "From reviews of the previous edition:" --

"This exceptional book deserves a broader reading than its intended public administration audience. Using several case studies including the Holocaust as administration and NASA's organizational dynamcis that led to the Challenger 'disaster,' Adams and Balfour argue compellingly that the concept of evil should be added to the lexicon of public administration." -- Choice

"A broad and long overdue discussion concerning the nature and significance of evil in the modern organizational context has ... been launched through this pathbreaking work." -- Public Integrity

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