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La "modernisation de l'Etat", indifférente à l'expertise des services en territoires : la réforme de l'Administration Territoriale de l'Etat dans les domaines de la Cohésion sociale et du Développement durable (2009-2015)

Abstract : The "modernization of the State" is a recurring theme of successive country leaders. The Reform of the State Territorial Administration (2010) is bringing about a lasting change in the organization of the State administration and decentralized services. Here we show its contradictory dynamics. First, the reform is based on certain objectives and tools of new public management (Hood 1981) : performance of public action, reduction of costs and staff, mergers of services, sharing of support functions, development of agencies, and digitization of public services. However, it neglects other principles of this doctrine : territorial expertise, evaluation of public action, territorial nodality, collection of information on social issues, and bottom-up feedback. The reform strengthens the decentralized regional level, which is in charge of steering, leading, coordinating, observing and evaluating public policies (in particular the DREALs and DRJSCSs). But development of this rare, high-level expertise faces many challenges : training civil servants to carry out these new missions, uncertainty generated by the dissociation between regional (maintained under ministerial supervision) and departmental (supervised more closely by the prefecture) decentralized services, competition for legitimacy between weakened decentralized services, strengthened agencies (notably in their budgetary prerogatives) and territorial authorities benefiting from transfers of competencies. “Déconcentration” appears to be declining in the French system, while the links between the State and local decentralized authorities are underused. Finally, the reform conveys a deeply institutional, centralized vision and methods : with negotiations at the top of the State, top-down application logic, short timescales, strengthening of prefectoral supervision, hierarchical coordination, and institutional isomorphism. Focused on the institutional project, the reorganization excludes a reflection on local expertise, professional content of projects, and partisan mutual adaptation between stakeholders. There have been successive reforms, which have had a lasting impact on the sense of action and autonomy of professional groups in the field, causing many agents to suffer, and leaving the services in uncertain and transitory situations. It is therefore doubtful that the overall objective of public performance of the reform will be achieved. Our analysis of public sector work is based on a triple focus on institutions, organizations and professions. Thus, we show that the concrete work of the agents of these merged decentralized services has been overlooked in the reforms. This thesis illuminates the current situation of tensions in the administrative field, between the "modernization" carried out by the executive government, the Ministry of the Budget, the "Nobility of the State" (high ranking officials) on the one hand; and on the other hand, the competition between various sectoral ministries and territorial services to maintain their functions and their vision of the State. Here we use three public policy analyses to address this issue. In the new field of "social cohesion", we show that the convergence of sheltering and access to housing policies for disadvantaged people is mainly carried out at the departmental level (the case of Ile-de-France is not studied). Our study of the elimination of the Popular Education and Youth Adviser role (CEPJ) raises the question of how knowledge and expertise can be maintained in advising and communication about territorial issues within the State. The case of housing energy renovation policies presents a complex landscape, located between several public policy sectors (housing, energy-climate, industry, and social policies), clearly illustrating the difficulty inherent in coordinating the many existing national and local mechanisms in the field of "sustainable development" or "energy transition"
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Sylvère Angot. La "modernisation de l'Etat", indifférente à l'expertise des services en territoires : la réforme de l'Administration Territoriale de l'Etat dans les domaines de la Cohésion sociale et du Développement durable (2009-2015). Sociologie. Université Paris-Est; Pollet, 2020. Français. ⟨NNT : 2020PESC2004⟩. ⟨tel-02877768⟩

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