"Situating Accountability: Seeking Salvation for the Core Concept of Modern Governance," unpublished ms, February 25, 2007.
The obsessive and extensive attention given to "accountability" over the past several years has not been matched by sufficient attention to the concept's place and role in modern governance. Its undisciplined application in rhetorical, critical and analytic contexts has reduced the concept to a pointless and free-floating label that has lost its value as a meaningful term of art in the study of government and political life.
This paper is an effort to remedy that circumstance - to seek a form of "salvation" for the idea of accountability by engaging in an effort to "situate" the concept linguistically, functionally, historically and theoretically. The central and ultimate objective of this exercise is to (re)locate the concept in its proper form to its place within the political ontology of modern governance.
[This paper is a substantial revision of earlier versions of "Seeking Salvation for Accountability" found at http://mjdubnick.dubnick.net/papersrw/2002/salv2002.pdf.]