Democracy and Public Administration

The ‘Arab Spring’ has raised, yet again, the issue of how modern publication administrations can be created in emerging and transitional states – especially ones that have long lived with some sort of autocratic regime.

At next years IRSPM Conference in Rome (11-13 April 2012) Beryl Radin (American University) and I are organising a panel on this important issue. The ‘Call for Papers’ is below, for those who might be interested.

Call for Papers: Democracy and Public Administration

The focus of this panel is the international, comparative, study of the relationship between democracy and public administration.

We are interested in:

· To what extent is public administration (PA) in a democracy qualitatively different, if at all, from PA in non- or pre-democratic states? Is it possible to have ‘meritocratic’ or ‘clean’ PA – or ‘good governance’ – without democratic systems? Many of the international measures of ‘good governance’ (e.g. the World Bank’s WGI) seem to significantly underplay the issue of the relationship between PA and democratic systems – possibly for ‘real politick’ reasons. Can this be sustained, either in practice or in theory?

· Are there differences between public administration strategies and approaches in democracies that are rooted in structural variations?

· The historic processes by which democracy and public administration have developed in parallel or through co-evolution; what were the specific drivers and nature of the transitions to democratic PA in, for example, “the west” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and in, more recently, Germany, Italy and Japan post-war, in Greece, Spain and Portugal, in Latin America, the former USSR and eastern Europe and most recently in the Arab crescent.

· The relationship between democracy and public administration in the ‘developed’ (OECD) world – what are the main configurations of democracy and PA in the developed world? How are issues such as participatory, deliberative and representative public administration, ‘post-bureaucratic’ government, networked governance, etc. changing the relationship between PA and democracy?

We welcome papers that are comparative as well as single cases, where relevant to these themes.

To submit abstracts please got to: DEADLINE 1st October 2011

If you have any questions please contact Colin in the first instance.

Beryl Radin (American University) and Colin Talbot (University of Manchester)


Prof. Colin R. Talbot, professor of public policy and management, Manchester Business School.

Work: +44 161 275 0508; Mobile: +44 7971 674 620;




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