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Over the course of the last two centuries, we have developed a new mode of governance—the administrative state—and it makes us feel miserable. We rail at​.
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Beyond Camelot: Rethinking Politics and Law for the Modern State | Semantic Scholar

But the reward is worth the effort. His alternative conceptual schemes time-and-again create a novel perspective that produces new angles and insights. To offer just one example, Rubin details a number of ways in which the routine notions that the President is the titular head of the administrative branch of government and that the legislature passes laws and delegates tasks to administrative agencies are misleading.

Network analysis instead portrays the President as merely a single individual with a small number of selective relationships through which communication occurs, which then wends its way through agencies via other strings of relationships, often losing something or meeting resistance in the process; Congress consists of individuals and their staffs who send various signals — from laws to letters to statements at hearings — to administrative agencies, constituting complex lines of continuous interaction at multiple levels.

The network approach generates a number of policy implications that Rubin identifies. The alternative conceptualizations elaborated by Rubin draw from existing literature in various fields, so his discussions are not entirely unfamiliar, although he incorporates ideas from an array of subjects that few scholars can match, including philosophy, political science, political theory, legal theory, history, organization theory, sociology, economic analysis, administrative law and theory, and much more.

JSI Seminar: Democracy and the Administrative State

For this reason, the book defies categorization. It is at once a work in sociology, political theory, legal theory, government, and administrative law, but it also takes up rights and property and markets, among other subjects, at a high level of sophistication. But one major omission bears comment. The book contains just a few isolated references to criminal law matters, with no real analysis of the subject. This is not a criticism, as its depth and breadth of coverage are impressive. But it raises interesting questions, which Rubin does not explore.


  1. Getting Yourself Together.
  2. Beyond Camelot: Rethinking Politics and Law for the Modern State.
  3. ¿Es usted médico y habla español? ¡Venga a los Estados Unidos! (Spanish Edition).
  4. THE CHICAGO WAY.
  5. Farewell to the Administrative State??

If this is correct, it would be interesting to learn why criminal law concepts escaped the obsolescence suffered by other fundamental legal and political concepts. There is another intriguing possible explanation for this omission. That a fairly exhaustive book on modern government can be written without an extensive discussion of criminal law — which has traditionally been a central focus of legal theory, as indicated by the commonplace characterization of law as the coercive enforcement of social order — suggests that in the contemporary period the emphases and uses of law have shifted away from what was an earlier primary focus.

To put the point another way: law itself, through its instrumental capacity, has become internally differentiated, acquiring a chameleon-like quality, which is on display as Rubin analyzes one context after another.

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Part II. Legal Operations

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Part I: The Structure of Government

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