Taking Language Seriously: The Narrative Foundations of Public Administration Research

Taking Language Seriously: The Narrative Foundations of Public Administration Research

by Jay D. White

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780878407507
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 11/01/1999
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.33(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.93(d)

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
Chapter 1A Narrative Theory of Knowledge for Public Administration Research1
Knowledge as Storytelling
The Nature of the Arguments
A Few Words about Positivism
A Preview
Chapter 2Knowledge as Storytelling, Interpretation, and Critique19
Applied Research as Storytelling
Public Administration's Dissatisfaction with Explanation
What Is Going on in Other Fields?
A Turn to Interpretation?
Critical Research
Summary
Chapter 3Three Modes of Research43
Explanatory Research
Interpretive Research
Critical Research
Foundations
Summary
Chapter 4Administrative and Legal Reasoning: Understanding Explanatory, Interpretive, and Critical Rationality63
Instrumental Reasoning
The Structural Limits of the Rational Model
Legal Reasoning
Interpretive and Critical Reasoning
Implications for Knowledge Development and Use
Summary
Chapter 5From Positivism to Postpositivism: The Linguistic Turn in the Philosophy of Science83
Philosophy and Science
The Cartesian Anxiety
The Myth of the Given
The Correspondence Theory of Truth
The Critique of Explanation
The Critique of Interpretation
The Linguistic Foundation of Knowledge
The Practical Rationality of Theory Choice
Summary
Chapter 6The Action Movement in Administrative Research: Examples of Interpretive and Critical Research105
Action Theory
A Case Study of Action Theory
Action Research
Action Science
Summary
Chapter 7Social Action, Administrative Research, and Literary Interpretation: The Logic of Interpretation and Critique127
Literary Interpretation
Positions in Interpretation
The Relevance of the Author or Actor
Meaning and Significance
The Canons of Interpretation
Criteria for Validation
Summary: A Melding of Genres
Chapter 8Taking Language Seriously: Some Postmodern Themes153
The Loss of Grand Narratives
Knowledge and the Linguistic Basis of Local Narratives
Poststructuralism
Knowledge as Conversation
The Local Narratives of Public Administration
Implications
Chapter 9Language, Discourse, and Rationality: The Foundations of a Narrative Theory of Knowledge181
References193
Index209

What People are Saying About This

John Forester

Provides a clearly written, useful introduction to the philosophical foundations of public administration theory. Readers will learn from every page of this well-organized and judicious work.
—(John Forester, Professor and Chair, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University)

Curtis Ventriss

An imaginative and important piece of work that advances our thinking about research in public administration....must reading for any serious scholar or student in public affairs.
—(Curtis Ventris, Professor of Political Science and Natural Resources Policy, The University of Vermont)

Danny L. Balfour

Challenges public administration scholars to recognize the philosophical underpinnings of our work and to produce research that deepens our understanding of the human interactions that define our field. Long overdue, this work will lead public administration into the interpretive turn and toward a more critical perspective on the role of administration in society.
—(Danny L. Balfour, Associate Professor and Director, School of Public and Nonprofit Administration, Grand Valley State University)

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