Book Chapter

Representation: Public Servants in Public



Matthews P (2020) Representation: Public Servants in Public. In: Sullivan H, Dickinson H & Henderson H (eds.) Palgrave Handbook of the Public Servant. Cham, Switzerlnd: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-10.

In scholarship on public servants, they are represented in various ways across disciplines as we can see from the various contributions to this handbook. This section of the book considers how public servants are represented in broader public culture. A key question addressed is whether we want our public servants to be ideal heroes or whether we need to represent the worst of public servants as part of making them accountable. Looking across public culture, from comedy to political satire, and factual representations in a series of portraits, news stories from autocratic states, and job adverts, the chapters in this section bring together a varied range of theoretical approaches to understanding public servants with these popular representations. In doing so, the chapters tell us a great deal about how such representations reflect society and also illuminate the different ways we can apply theory to understand public servants and public service.

Representation; Popular culture; Public sphere; Accountability

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online31/01/2020
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place of publicationCham, Switzerlnd

People (1)


Professor Peter Matthews

Professor Peter Matthews

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology