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One can imagine two futures for public administration, public management and public service around the world. A first would be what we see as a continuation of the status quo: with public administration essentially continuing as a series of national discourses, with perhaps a bit of cross-fertilization, but with this characterized by a classic core-periphery model. The preferable model, outlined in this paper, would see the development of an integrated community of scholars of public affairs.

At least three hurdles need to be overcome to arrive at this integrated community. A first concerns the tension in the periphery between an epistemic nationalism and epistemic colonialism. The second hurdle to be overcome concerns the central role of the American literature in intellectual discourse in public administration. A third hurdle is more specific to public administration: what Canadian Iain Gow has referred to as public administration's profile, as ‘une science empirique par excellence’.