Title

Introduction: Public Administration at the Margins

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2008

Publication Title

Administrative Theory & Praxis

Volume

30

Issue

4

First Page

393

Last Page

397

Abstract

Since the late 1960s, considerable effort has been expended in and by public administration scholars to examine, critique, and attempt to overcome public administration's status as a marginal political, intellectual, and academic enterprise (to use Waldo's [1980] term). These efforts have generated some of the field's most important and insightful literatures, including debates over the "research question" (Adams, 1992; Box, 1992; McCurdy & Cleary, 1984; White, 1986), the legitimacy problem (Ostrom, 1973; Rohr, 1984; Wamsley et al., 1990), the "relevance" issue (Alkadry, 2006; Bolton & Stolcis, 2003; LaPorte, 1971), and so on. These scholarly undertakings have generated considerable discourse and understanding about the nature of knowledge generation, the relative historical position of public administration in governance and society, and the complexity of meeting heterogeneous professional, academic, and epistemological expectations. As attendees at the recent Minnowbrook III preconference workshop, we can attest to the persistence of these concerns over the status and legitimacy of public administration in the academy among the field's new scholars.1