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The Language of Public Administration: Bureaucracy, Modernity and Postmodernity

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Overview

Coping with the practical problems of bureaucracy is hampered by the limited self-conception and the constricted mindsets of mainstream public administration thinking. Modernist public administration theory, although valuable and capable of producing ever more remarkable results, is limiting as an explanatory and catalytic force in resolving fundamental problems about the nature, size, scope, and functioning of public bureaucracy and in transforming public bureaucracy into a more positive force.

This original study specifies a reflexive language paradigm for public administration thinking and shows how a postmodern perspective permits a revolution in the character of thinking about public bureaucracy. The author considers imagination, deconstruction, deterritorialization, and alterity. Farmer's work emphasizes the need for an expansion in the character and scope of public administration's disciplinary concerns and shows clearly how the study and practice of public administration can be reinvigorated.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book will help to expand not only the vocabularies but also the disciplinary concerns of the present generation of public administrationists. This study is an encouraging example of the kind of intellectual discourse that is so much needed at present."
—William H. Stewart, The University of Alabama

"An excellent example of the extent to which modern and postmodern public administrationists are considerably more philosophical than much of the rest of the social sciences."
—H. George Frederickson, The University of Kansas

Booknews
The author points out limitations in the theory of public administration and proposes a reflexive, post-modernistic, and possibly revolutionary, language paradigm for public administration thinking. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817307844
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Lexile: 1370L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David John Farmer is Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 Method: Reflexive Interpretation 11
3 Modernity: The Dialect 34
4 Modernity: Limits of Particularism 49
5 Modernity: Limits of Scientism 70
6 Modernity: Limits of Technologism 86
7 Modernity: Limits of Enterprise 103
8 Modernity: Limits of Hermeneutics 128
9 Postmodernity: The Dialect 144
10 Postmodernity: Imagination 158
11 Postmodernity: Deconstruction 178
12 Postmodernity: Deterritorialization 210
13 Postmodernity: Alterity 227
14 Epilogue 246
Notes 249
Selected Bibliography 297
Index 305
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