Medieval virtues as public values? The burgeoning public sector and the articulation of public values in Late Medieval Holland

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Public values research is a major topic in public administration science, but little attention has been given to the origin of public values. This article traces the origin of public values to the development of the public sphere and public offices in the late Middle Ages, a period often dismissed as an age of particularism to which notions of the public sphere and public values are not applicable. There has been little inquiry into the Middle Ages in the field of administrative history. As this article shows, however, a public sphere began to develop in late medieval Holland, both in the minds of the learned and in practice. Christian virtues were pulled into this burgeoning public sphere and given specific meanings related to the administrative behavior of public officeholders. The virtues were,by this means, transformed into public values that are still held in high esteem in present-day public administration.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)268-283
JournalAdministrative Theory & Praxis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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