Dr. Huussen's contemporary concern, made totally explicit only in his very last re- marks, is central government incursion upon university autonomy in the Netherlands, a development which threatens to make the universities mere extensions o f the Hague bu- reaucracy. No doubt his previous scholarly work, which includes separate studies on cen- tral bureaucracies and on the codifications o f Dutch and French law at the turn of the eighteenth century, enabled him to take a long, p r o f o u n d - a n d pessimistic-view o f a corrosive process at work all over the Western world. And if the underlying issue is omnivorous, engulfing bureaucracy, where should we turn but to the Soviet Union for a model, and what better topic than the histroical roots of the Nomenklatura? So we are brought to the heart of the essay, to Russia in the eras of Catherine and Alexander, a Russia beyond the limits of the Enlightenment, where central bureaucratic power, functioning in a Kafkaesque world o f unknowable law, made the operation o f enlightened principles impossible. Catherine's and Alexander's modern notions shimmered in the air, nothing but fancies or phantasmagoria-the grillen of
Canadian-American Slavic Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1984
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