Public administration in an age of austerity:the future of the discipline


Reflecting changes in the nature of governance, some have questioned whether Public Administration is now an historical anachronism. While a legitimate debate exists between sceptics and optimists, this special issue demonstrates grounds for optimism by indicating the continuing diversity and adaptability of the field of Public Administration. In this introduction, we first sketch the variety of intellectual traditions which comprise the field of modern Public Administration. We then consider institutional challenges facing the subject given considerable pressures towards disciplinary fragmentation, and ideological challenges arising from a new distrust of public provision in the UK. Despite these challenges, Public Administration continues to provide a framework to analyse the practice of government and governance, governing institutions and traditions, and their wider sociological context. It can also directly inform policy reform - even if this endeavour can have its own pitfalls and pratfalls for the 'engaged' academic. We further suggest that, rather than lacking theoretical rigour, new approaches are developing that recognise the structural and political nature of the determinants of public administration. Finally, we highlight the richness of modern comparative work in Public Administration. Researchers can usefully look beyond the Atlantic relationship for theoretical enhancement and also consider more seriously the recursive and complex nature of international pressures on public administration.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Aston Business School > Economics, Finance & Entrepreneurship
Aston Business School
Languages & Social Sciences > Sociology and Policy
Languages & Social Sciences
Languages & Social Sciences > Aston Centre for Europe
Uncontrolled Keywords: administration and democracy,administration in transition,administraive organization and structures,administrative theory,public administration,public management,Public Administration,Sociology and Political Science
Full Text Link: http://ppa.sage ... ontent/27/3/199
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2012-07
Published Online Date: 2012-03-30
Authors: Kelly, Josie
Dodds, Anneliese



Version: Accepted Version

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