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North Castle Books

To Kill the King: Post-Traditional Governance and Bureaucracy
Authored by: David John Farmer

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-1480-3 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-1481-0
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USD: $78.95 USD: $40.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 240pp. References, index.
Publication Date: January 2005.  


Description: This original work captures the heart, and enlarges the soul, of reform movements within the study of governance and bureaucracy. Author David John Farmer provides constitutive features of a new consciousness for democratic governance that will revolutionize the subject of public administration.

To Kill the King sketches post-traditional consciousness in terms of three rejuvenating concepts--thinking as play, justice as seeking, and practice as art. In a series of critical essays on each of these concepts, the book describes an approach to governance that can yield enormous improvement in the quality of life for each individual. To Kill the King will appeal to any professor (whether in the post-modernist camp or not) who wants to expose students to fresh challenges and new insights.

Selected Contents:


I. Thinking as Play
What Is Post-Traditional Thinking?

1. Start with Plato: Playing
2. More Play: Like a Gadfly?
3. Self and Detritus
4. Writing, with a Deviant Signature
5. Listen to Symbols
6. Truth: Skepticism, Certainly

II. Justice as Seeking
What Is Post-Traditional Justice?

7. Start with Shakespeare: O Cursed Legacy!
8. Justice Systems: More in Heaven and Earth?
9. Self, with Style
10. Other and Hesitation
11. Tradition: Golden Ruling
12. Other Traditions: Silver Ruling

III. Practice as Art
What Is a Post-Traditional Practice?

13. Start with Michelangelo: What I, a Bureaucrat, Expect
14. Visible Hand: Cult of the Leader
15. Invisible Hand: Unexamined Rhetoric
16. A Nun and Barbed Wire
17. Love and Mere Efficiency
18. To Kill the King, and "Good and No Places"

About the Author

Comment(s): "This is a book for the new century and the new reality into which public administration is moving. Only the inimitable David Farmer could provide content this new and deliver it in such a fresh, contemporary style. If you want to engage your students, enliven your classroom, and focus attention on what public administration must now become, assign this book." -- O.C. McSwite

"In this deeply personal and engaging book, Public Administration's philosopher/troubadour argues for an inclusive, empathic, and language-conscious Public Administration originating in the embrace of imagination, symbol, and wonder. At once romantic and skeptical, hesitant and bold, David John Farmer offers a highly readable set of essays about what counts as true, and about how PA's conversation and practice could flourish -- reconceptualized and reshaped -- without the cult of the leader, the technicism of the machine, the compulsions of hierarchy, and other familiar crutches." -- Patricia Patterson, Florida Atlantic University

Review(s): "...a must read for those concerned with seeking justice, undertaking administration with a fresh consciousness, and thinking about the inevitable conundrums that plague us as potential works of art in the making. ... This is a beautiful book. Read it and be awakened." -- Administrative Theory & Praxis, Vol.27, No.2

"In this provocative text, Farmer has constructed a new, more articulated paradigm for a post-bureaucratic form of government. The book is particularly recommended to scholars and practitioners in the social science disciplines of economics, political science, public administration and business management, however, philosophers, historians of science and others interested in contemporary public administration will benefit from this text. A true gadfly, Farmer pushes the limits of argument designed to bring citizens and public administrators beyond their traditional crutches to a truly relevant public administration." -- Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice

"Although work of this kind may not be what public administrators are generally reading today, it is...the kind of work they should be reading. I have adopted it as one of the texts for a graduate course I teach in alternative approaches to public organization, and I recommend it highly to both scholars and practioners who would consider looking beyond an increasingly stale traditional conception of public-sector reform toward fresh and insightful alternatives." -- Public Administration Review

"Farmer's book makes a contribution that is often fascinating and frequently provocative. ...the book is both practioner-oriented and geared to changing practice. As such it could be useful reading matter for advanced courses relating to governance and administration or for practicing managers needing an intellectual challenge. ... the audience could be much wider, including all those who want to read a provocative tract on governance and to debate about the foundations of the organization of businesses and public administration." -- Scandinavian Journal of Management

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