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31 December 2021
Book Reviews - The Canon in Context
Public administration as a discipline has gone through innumerable stages, phases and fads and still continues to evolve. In the earliest studies on scientific management, to New Deal liberalism and the administrative presidency, formative scholars redefined the boundaries of field. Contemporary scholars have gone on to consider social equity, “new public management”, representative bureaucracy, behavioral public administration, and other aspects of the field that are now seen as foundational. Like any other scholarly discipline, public administration reinvents and reforms itself on a regular basis. However, while these important concepts and the texts that outline them are cited as explanatory or foundational elements of public administration by academics around the world, we have often found ourselves teaching a canon without a context.
Revisiting such work will undoubtedly improve our understandings of both the relevance and the shortcomings of these foundational texts, and here at Administrative Theory & Praxis (ATP) we believe that a critical eye is needed to explore the meaning of these works in the present day. We would call your attention to our recent call for proposals on Social Justice and Society:
As a discipline and field of practice, public administration research and practitioners need to be on the front lines of meaningful and practical solutions to address the social inequity that persists for individuals, groups, and communities throughout society. Researchers interested in challenging the status quo, incorporating diverse frameworks and theories, and utilizing different methodologies can offer important insights that can push the field towards a critical understanding of society and all of the constituents comprised of it. The teaching and practice of public administration requires an acknowledgement that public servants are stewards of democracy. The education and training of public administration professionals should raise the level of commitment to rectify injustices facilitated by government institutions and actors.
We know that not all foundational work in our field has lived up to these expectations, and so we seek book reviews that challenge the orthodoxy, address the status quo, and attempt to find justice or a lack thereof in the foundational work of our field. In particular, we encourage early career scholars to approach “classic” work with fresh eyes, attempting to uncover the relevance it may have to their own research agendas, or to challenge the dogmas it promotes.
All book reviews are subject to the journal’s peer review standards, and potential authors are encouraged to contact the book review editor, Dr. Peter Federman ([email protected]), to propose a potential text. Books and articles with high citation counts published before 2010 are most appropriate for this call.
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