The service public under stress

Alistair Mark COLE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This essay elucidates the various meanings of the elusive notion of service public. Service public is an abstract legal doctrine, a set of normative values, a category of public employment and a form of economic activity. The main body of the essay appraises European, national and sub-national challenges to traditional French understandings of the service public. Through observing examples of ideological and organisational resistance, the essay concludes that, though French policy makers have confronted the challenges to the service public in a manner consistent with their political traditions, the French policy has mutated under the combined impact of internal and external pressures for change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-184
Number of pages19
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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