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Share your Research

with Administrative Theory & Praxis

Abstract Deadline: 31 March 2020   |  Final Paper Deadline: September 30, 2020


Dr. Staci Zavattaro, University of Central Florida

[email protected]

Re-Examining Public Values

In 2007, Jorgensen and Bozeman posed a series of questions related to public values, including their origins and the meanings of both “public” and “values.” In that same space, they argue public values are like principles of common law: ambiguous but potentially viable criteria for action and accountability. Their questions of what counts as values, values hierarchies, and hegemonic control of public values, cannot be answered without ontological, epistemological, and methodological scrutiny.

When certain methods become the “hot ticket” for investigation often at the expense of research questions that drill into the substance of public service (Guy, 2019; Riccucci, 2010), the most important question – values – gets lost. We see this in the still-remaining tension between neutral expertise and partisan loyalty. Public administration theory, research, and practice is an exercise in balancing competing interests. Lest hegemonic ideals replace critical reflection, this call for papers responds to the following concern from Guy (2019, p. 6, emphasis added):

To this end, research toolboxes must be larger so that we can go deep into the relational aspects of public service, understand more about meaningfulness, and use knowledge to create constructive environments within which people flourish. While counting frequencies is important for its instrumental use, it is tangential to the essential elements that must exist for communities to function well. These include engagement, trust, collaboration, neighbor-helping-neighbor. Communities are held together by the solidarity that results from common understandings and interpretations.

In this call for papers, we seek research that critically examines competing public values, especially in today’s contemporary society where values are visibly contested and even weaponized. Values are often held in tension within public administration practice and study – neutrality vs. expertise; equity vs. efficiency; positivism vs. post-positivism; rationalism vs. postmodernism; social justice vs. elitism – so the purpose of this call is to interrogate public values from various perspectives. Even in Guy’s (2019) above statement, the values she mentions could be in tension in practice – lacking trust leads to little collaboration or neighborliness. What do these terms mean when removed from a Western context? What other theoretical foundations can we use to understand contemporary public values? What methods can we use to further public values study in public administration and how?

Ideas for research include but are not limited to:

  • Queer theory and the influence on public values
  • Critical race theory and the influence on public values
  • Black feminism’s effects on social justice and public values – how black feminism can critique hegemonic norms and reconceptualize public values through an inclusive lens
  • Artificial intelligence and public values – technology ethics
  • Whiteness as the hegemonic norm for public values (see Heckler, 2017)
  • Public values from a Global South perspective
  • Non-Western theoretical foundations of public values
  • Practical implications of public values competition (i.e. – manifestations of social equity for public organizations; restrictive policies and practices; democracy, deliberation, dialogue, and legitimization; immigration, etc.)
  • Critical nonprofit studies related to shaping public values – how nonprofit organization can change public values
  • Effects of global populism on public values, especially when it comes to how symbols, slogans, and rhetoric are used to shape (or even dismantle) public values
  • Ethnographies, autoethnographies that investigate and interrogate public values
  • Utopian ideals related to public values – theoretical frameworks that imagine new, emerging public values (see Surak, 2015, for instance)
  • Relational ontologies’ effects on public values (see Stout, 2012, for instance)

Looking to Publish your Research?

We aim to make publishing with Taylor & Francis a rewarding experience for all our authors. Please visit our Author Services website for more information and guidance, and do contact us if there is anything we can help with!

Submission Instructions

Please send abstracts of approximately 500-1,000 words to Editor-in-Chief Dr. Staci Zavattaro by March 31, 2020. Invitation to submit a full paper does not guarantee publication.

Full papers will be due by September 30, 2020.

ATP also welcomes book reviews and Dialogue section essays as part of this call. Dialogue essays are shorter, though-provoking pieces meant to engender discussion. For questions or additional information regarding the special issue, please contact Dr. Zavattaro. 

Instructions for Authors  Submit an Article


Guy, M. (2019). Expanding the toolbox: Why the citizen-state encounter demands it. Public Performance and Management Review, DOI: 10.1080/15309576.2019.1677255
Heckler, N. (2017). Publicly-desired color blindness: Whiteness as a realized public value. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 39(3), 175-192.
Jorgensen, T.B. & Bozeman, B. (2007). Public values: An inventory. Administration & Society, 39(3), 354-381.
Riccucci, N. M. (2010). Public administration: Traditions of inquiry and philosophies of knowledge. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
Stout, M. (2012). Toward a relational language of process. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 34(3), 407-432.
Surak, S. (2015). Introduction to the symposium. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 37(2), 77-80.