WHAT IS THE PUBLIC VALUE OF GOVERNMENT ACTION? TOWARDS A (NEW) PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO VALUES QUESTIONS IN PUBLIC ENDEAVOURS
Version of Record online: 23 JUL 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Public Administration © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 89, Issue 2, pages 226–241, June 2011
How to Cite
WEST, K. and DAVIS, P. (2011), WHAT IS THE PUBLIC VALUE OF GOVERNMENT ACTION? TOWARDS A (NEW) PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO VALUES QUESTIONS IN PUBLIC ENDEAVOURS. Public Administration, 89: 226–241. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9299.2010.01847.x
- Issue online: 23 JUN 2011
- Version of Record online: 23 JUL 2010
- Date received 9 December 2008. Date accepted 20 August 2009.
There has been a resurgence of interest in values in recent public administration research, based on two distinct arguments. For different reasons, neither approach is likely to secure a robust normative basis for public endeavours. These reasons are assessed, using an alternative body of theory rooted in contemporary social theory that we term, ‘new pragmatism’. New pragmatic ideas are deployed to critique the divorce of values from facts; the abstraction of values from concrete situations; the anthropocentric foundation to social choice; the poorly developed understanding of the process of governance, with its inherent pluralism; and the seeming reluctance to articulate principles of political discourse.