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North Castle Books

Postmodern Public Administration, Revised Edition
Authored by: Hugh T. Miller; Charles J. Fox

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-1704-0 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-1705-7
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USD: $98.95 USD: $46.95
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Information: 176pp. References, name index, subject index.
Publication Date: October 2006.  


Description: This widely acclaimed work provides a lively counterbalance to the standard assessment-measurement-accountability prescriptions that have made showing you did your job more important than actually doing it. Now extensively revised, it articulates a postmodern theory of public administration that challenges the field to redirect its attention away from narrow, technique-oriented scientism, and toward democratic openness and ethics.

The authors incorporate insights from thinkers like Rorty, Giddens, Derrida, and Foucault to recast public administration as an arena of decentered practices. In their framework, ideographic collisions and everyday impasses bring about political events that challenge the status quo, creating possibilities for social change.

Postmodern Public Administration is an outstanding intellectual achievement that has rewritten the political theory of public administration. This new edition will encourage everyone who reads it to think quite differently about democratic governance.

Selected Contents:


1. The Representative Democratic Accountability Feedback Loop
Positivism in Public Administration
Deconstructing the Loop Model

2. Alternatives to Orthodoxy
The Constitutionalist Alternative
Communitarian/Citizen Alternative

3. Hyperreality
Instability and Incommensurability
Unstable Signs Leading to a Virtual Reality
Neotribalism and the Decentered Self
Symbolic Politics
Hyperreality Versus the Alternatives

4. The Social Construction of Government
Constructivist Social Theory

5. Ideographic Discourse
Symbols as Ordering Devices
Relief from Dissonance
Events, Impasses, and the Authority of the Archives
Ideographic Events

6. Conclusion
Orthodoxy and Its Alternatives
Media-Infused Hyperreality
Constructivism and Governmentality
A Field of Political Contestation
The Changing Game

Name Index
Subject Index
About the Authors

Comment(s): " Postmodern Public Administration has emerged as a landmark in the critical literature of the field. Offering a fundamental critique of the basic assumptions underlying the theory and practice of public organization and administration, it presents a new perspective on old and outmoded concepts, as well as a research program devoted to the administrative practices of a more equitable, democratic society. Even those unwilling to make the postmodern turn will benefit from testing their own understandings of the field against the critical challenge posed by this book." -- Frank Fischer, Rutgers University

"In this revision of Fox and Miller's now classic book, Hugh Miller provides not just an update of the original text, but an original and thought-provoking sequel that will enliven public administration research and education for some years to come. Drawing on a dazzling array of literature, Miller offers a forceful critique of the trendy, but dangerous, neo-liberalism and obsession with scientific technique that are increasingly dominating our field. When it comes to combining sheer intellectual rigor with a postmodern irreverence for established ideas and practices in public administration, nobody does it better than Hugh Miller." -- Michael Spicer, Cleveland State University

"This book is just what the field of public administration needs at the present moment in its history. The critique it offers is definitive and its project--to redefine and strengthen the idea of reason--opens the way for developing a model of governance appropriate to the global 21st century." -- O.C. McSwite, Emeritus, Virginia Tech and George Washington University

Review(s): "This book can be read as something of a manifesto, one that demands radical changes in the field of public administration, both in theory and practice, and aspires to a revitalization of democracy. ... This is a satisfying book that should become essential reading for those interested in public administration and policy studies." -- Science and Public Policy

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