Events | Bureaucracy Under Populist Rule? - Rubina Zern-Breuer, Michael Bauer & Joe Mathews im Gespräch. Moderiert von Alexandra Lieben.

Los Angeles, Thomas Mann House | 8. Dezember 2022 | 4:00 (MEZ)

2022 Thomas Mann Fellow Rubina Zern-Breuer, Historikerin und Innovationsforscherin, beschäftigt sich mit den Wechselwirkungen zwischen öffentlicher Verwaltung und Zivilgesellschaft. Für dieses Gespräch trifft sie Professor Michael W. Bauer, Lehrstuhl für öffentliche Verwaltung an der School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute, und den Journalisten Joe Mathews, Ko-Präsident des Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy & Demokratie-Redakteur bei Zócalo Public Square. Das Gespräch, das in eine Fishbowl-Diskussion mit dem Publikum übergehen wird, geht der Frage nach, wie widerstandsfähige öffentliche Verwaltungen Demokratien vor populistischem Druck schützen und das Vertrauen in demokratische Institutionen wiederherstellen können. Moderiert von Alexandra Lieben.

*Diese Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt*

The German sociologist Max Weber once described the regularity and routine of public administration as a basic condition for efficient political control and protection against arbitrariness, since everyone has to play by the same rational rules. But does this definition still hold up today, considering the rise of populist tendencies that are gaining momentum and increasingly influencing political developments and elections on both sides of the Atlantic? What is the role of public administration in today's world of contested democracies when, for example, the legitimacy of electoral processes is relying on the functioning of these administrative processes? How can public administration become more resilient when it is both claimed and demanded by civil society on the one hand and by political leaders on the other? Or is it perhaps for this very reason that a return to rational Weberian principles is necessary?

The discussion will take place in the living room of the Thomas Mann House.

In person event at the Thomas Mann House. By invitation only.


Michael W. Bauer is Professor at the School of Transnational Governance and Academic Director of the Master of Arts programme in Transnational Governance. He is Jean Monnet Professor of the European Union and Chair of Comparative Public Administration and Policy Analysis at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer. He holds a Masters in European Studies in Politics and Administration of the College of Europe, Bruges and a PhD from the European University Institute, Florence. His research focus and teaching experience lie in European multilevel administration, public administration and comparative policy analysis.


Alexandra Lieben is the Deputy Director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations – and lecturer at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. She has served as faculty advisory on several social impact projects at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. For the past eight years, she has taught seminars in crisis prevention, crisis de-escalation, constructive communication, multi-stakeholder conflict resolution, community development, and cultural competency for executives and managers of public safety and public sector agencies, from law enforcement to fire, EMS, public health, as well as non-profits, local, state, and federal agencies. Alexandra Lieben is a member of the Thomas Mann House Advisory Board.


Photo: Los Angeles Times

Joe Mathews is California and innovation editor at Zocalo Public Square. He was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Baltimore Sun. He is co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It and author of The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy. He is co-president of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. Joe also serves as a professor of practice at Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs, as fellow at ASU’s Center for Social Cohesion, and as co-president, with Bruno Kaufmann, of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy – which brings together academics, journalists, activists and other experts on initiative, referenda, and new forms of deliberative and participatory democracy.  


Rubina Zern-Breuer is a research project coordinator at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, where she has headed the Innovation Lab for Public Administration since 2018 and also teaches. After studying Modern and Contemporary History as well as Sociology at the University of Karlsruhe, she completed her PhD at the University of Würzburg, spending time abroad at the DHI Rome, among others. In addition to coordinating public science projects at ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Rubina Zern-Breuer further positions took her to the University of Heidelberg and as a senior researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. Zern-Breuer is a 2022 Thomas Mann Fellow.


This event is organized by the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles and co-presented by the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute and Democracy International and Zócalo Public Square.
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