Administration under Stress (Administration Vol. 9)

Thomas Süsler-Rohringer Announcement
Subject Fields
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, European History / Studies, Government and Public Service, Social History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Administrations are generally perceived as organizations that reproduce themselves in uniform routines. Not infrequently, however, administrations find themselves in situations of excessive demands or can only cope with their tasks by exerting all their forces and have to break out of previous routines. Typically, this can be assumed in crises or wars. But the transfer of new types of tasks or a significant increase in the number of cases in the area of existing tasks can also put administrations under stress. However, quantitative overloads, difficult decision-making constellations, urgent need for administrative action, of course, can also be part of normal everyday administrative work, as can extraordinary psychological challenges, e.g., in dealing with demonstrations or in communicating with individual agitated parties, be it in public welfare or at the building authority. Finally, there are administrative positions where stress is typically a constant companion, such as those characterized by high responsibility, immense workloads, or adverse working conditions (for example, frequent travel). Here it may be that stress does not have a negative connotation but is integrated into the self-image in a positive sense and then stands for innovative ability or robustness, for example - just as stress in general not only creates disorder but also generates its own orders.

We are therefore dealing with a wide variety of constellations, but what they have in common is that administrations or individual administrative actors are reaching their limits with existing capacities, with existing forms of organization and with traditional knowledge. However, this is not an ahistorical phenomenon. What puts administrations under stress was understood differently at different times and addressed accordingly in administrative debates. Therefore, we will also ask about the knowledge orders that administrations acquire. This includes, on the one hand, the terms as well as the underlying concepts that are used to capture excessive demands and their consequences (e.g., nervous tension, neurasthenia, or burnout). On the other hand, the related coping strategies and practices also need to be examined.

This is the topic of volume 9 of the journal "Administory. Journal for the History of Public Administration".

We are looking for contributions that address the following questions in particular:

- In which constellations and situations are administrations put under stress?

- How does this affect the performance of the administration's tasks?

- To what extent are the administrative addressees affected?

- Which organization-related and individual strategies of stress prevention or stress management become visible?

If you would like to propose an article for this volume, please submit an abstract (max. 2,500 characters) including a title and a short CV as one PDF document by March 20, 2023 at the latest to: The selected authors will be notified in April; the deadline for submission of articles (max. 10,000 words, including footnotes) is October 1, 2023, after which the articles will be peer-reviewed to decide whether they will be accepted for publication. Publication date for accepted texts is fall 2024.

For more information on ADMINISTORY:

ADMINISTORY sees itself as a platform to publish and discuss advanced and current research on administrative history. The journal, which is published once a year with double blind peer-review, is interdisciplinary, transepochal and transnational as well as methodologically open. Thus, ADMINISTORY establishes itself as an interface between historical-cultural studies research and the debates on state and administration in the social, legal and political sciences. Contributions are published in German or English.

Contact Information

Dr. Thomas Süsler-Rohringer

Historisches Seminar der LMU
Lehrstuhl für europäische Geschichte
Postfach 105
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
80539 München

Contact Email