Some Evidence of a Pluralistic Discipline: A Narrative Analysis of Public Administration Symposia


  • Hugh T. Miller,

    1. Professor of public administration and director of the School of Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of Postmodern Public Policy (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2002) and editor, with Peter Bogason and Sandra Kensen, of Tampering with Tradition: The Unrealized Authority of Democratic Agency (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2004). His book Postmodern Public Administration: Revised Edition, with Charles J. Fox, will be published next near by M.E. Sharpe. E-mail:
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  • Cheedy Jaja

    1. Teaches philosophy and culture studies at Highline Community College in Seattle, Washington. A native of Sierra Leone, he earned his doctorate in public administration at Florida Atlantic University and holds master's degrees in philosophy, political science, and international studies. E-mail:
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This article investigates the discipline of public administration as it is manifested in symposium articles published during the period 1985–99. What was the field trying to accomplish? The method of investigation is narrative analysis. Using specific discourse markers (method, substantive contents, and authorial intentions), the authors found a wide variety of purposes and projects in the symposia investigated. The condition of public administration, they conclude, is distinguished by a radical pluralism—a striking absence of any singular conception of public administration scholarship.