The Public Administration Review and Ongoing Struggles for Connectedness



Facilitation of connectedness has been a fundamental role of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the Public Administration Review (PAR) throughout their six decades of professional service. Together, they have sought to link practitioners and academicians across subfields and varied levels of activities. As a foremost refereed journal, PAR has sought to encourage the linking of practice and theory through timely publication of methodologically disciplined research, informed analyses and commentaries, and constructive literature reviews and correspondence. These responsibilities have been persistently challenging. ASPA and PAR have served a dynamic field that has made some wrong turns and had others forced on it, resulting in failed autonomy, followed by increasing partisan politicization of governments and reduced reliance on professionally expert administration. For ASPA, it has created leadership and membership problems. For PAR, it has sometimes exacerbated difficulties in connecting practitioners and academicians, but it has also created more shared concerns as important subjects of inquiry. Challenges now are to serve both enduring and new spheres of the field that are afforded by international and domestic developments. Both ASPA and PAR are striving to do that. Globalization of public administration opens a world of opportunities today. Localization, as a fundamental of constitutional democracy, is a priority internationally, presenting an engaging paradox of global attention to both place and planet. That is linked in this commentary to the classic democracy-bureaucracy quandary that has constructively challenged public administration. While arrays of other important subjects, old and new, need to command attention in PAR, these are linked in this analysis to today's theory and practice of interdependent facilitative states to assess how the journal serves its responsibilities.