The rugged individualist club

This paper explores the impacts of the dominant Hobbesian ontology and the Protestant ethic on individual experience within the United States, connecting the ideas of “disaster capitalism” and the “myth of the Individual” to explore the ways in which individual citizens are isolated, alienated, and subjugated. The paper identifies forms of isolation experienced by individuals in public administration, anti-poverty policies, and popular methods of citizen participation. Playing off the notion of “hollow government,” the paper argues that the Hobbesian ontology of fear and othering, along with Lockean Individualism, creates “hollow Individuals” by negating opportunities for interpersonal exchange of ideas. The paper suggests that the field of public administration can begin to counteract the paradox of Individualism, in part, by following Stivers’ (1994) model of the “listening bureaucrat.”

This paper explores the impacts of the dominant Hobbesian ontology and the Protestant ethic on individual experience within the United States, connecting the ideas of "disaster capitalism" and the "myth of the Individual" to explore the ways in which individual citizens are isolated, alienated, and subjugated. The paper identifies forms of isolation experienced by individuals in public administration, anti-poverty policies, and popular methods of citizen participation. Playing off the notion of "hollow government," the paper argues that the Hobbesian ontology of fear and othering, along with Lockean Individualism, creates "hollow Individuals" by negating opportunities for interpersonal exchange of ideas. The paper suggests that the field of public administration can begin to counteract the paradox of Individualism, in part, by following Stivers' (1994) model of the "listening bureaucrat."

File Type: 11029664
Categories: Ethics, Leadership, PA Theory, Social Equity