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10 November 2022

14h00 – 15h30


The making, unmaking and remaking of the public service – with case studies from the Covid19 pandemic.

Presenter  : Lisa Seftel

Discussant :  Alex Van Den Heever


The paper will seek to trace the making and breakdown of public service institutions designed to deliver service delivery, using case studies from the Covid19 pandemic. Three interrelated research questions will be considered. Firstly, the research will consider whether the way in which the public service was built (‘made’) in the post-democratic era and subsequently undermined by what von Holdt calls “a patronageviolent complex” has impacted on the ability of the public service to respond in a crisis and may continue to impact on its remaking. Secondly, the research will look at how the state has been ‘unmade’ by looking at the relationship between morals, economics or patronage and the structure, systems and culture of institutions. Thirdly, in the unmaking of the state, there are structures and systems in the public service which are not formalised and can contribute to either or both the efficient or delinquent delivery of service delivery. In here lies one possibility of the ‘remaking’ of the public service. This will be considered drawing on the work of Holston (2008) of ‘insurgent citizenship’.