Taking Language Seriously: The Narrative Foundations of Public Administration Research

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Dezember 2001



The logic of research in public administration, argues Jay D. White, may be more like that of storytelling than of conventional social science research. In this book, he examines the linguistic, discursive, and narrative foundations of public administration research and develops a narrative theory of knowledge development and use for the field.White builds his case for this narrative theory by showing how research on complex problems is grounded in language and discourse. He then explains how a variety of recent developments in philosophy and the humanities -- positivism, postpositivism, hermeneutics, critical and legal theory, postmodernism, and poststructuralism -- can contribute to our understanding of public administration research.This comprehensive yet clear discussion of the philosophical foundations of research in public administration advances an alternative theory of knowledge development that will be valuable for everyone in fields seeking to affect social, political, economic, and organizational change.


1. A Narrative Theory of Knowledge for Public Administration Research Knowledge as Storytelling The Nature of the Arguments A Few Words about Positivism A Preview
2. Knowledge as Storytelling, Interpretation, and Critique Applied Research as Storytelling Public Administration's Dissatisfaction with Explanation What Is Going on in Other Fields? A Turn to Interpretation? Critical Research Summary
3. Three Modes of Research Explanatory Research Interpretive Research Critical Research Foundations Summary
4. Administrative and Legal Reasoning: Understanding Explanatory, Interpretive, and Critical Rationality Instrumental Reasoning The Structural Limits of the Rational Model Legal Reasoning Interpretive and Critical Reasoning Implications for Knowledge Development and Use Summary
5. From Positivism to Postpositivism: The Linguistic Turn in the Philosophy of Science Philosophy and Science The Cartesian Anxiety The Myth of the Given The Correspondence Theory of Truth The Critique of Explanation The Critique of Interpretation The Linguistic Foundation of Knowledge The Practical Rationality of Theory Choice Summary
6. The Action Movement in Administrative Research: Examples of Interpretive and Critical Research Action Theory A Case Study of Action Theory Action Research Action Science Summary
7. Social Action, Administrative Research, and Literary Interpretation: The Logic of Interpretation and Critique Literary Interpretation Positions in Interpretation The Relevance of the Author or Actor Meaning and Significance The Canons of Interpretation Criteria for Validation Summary: A Melding of Genres
8. Taking Language Seriously: Some Postmodern Themes The Loss of Grand Narratives Knowledge and the Linguistic Basis of Local Narratives Poststructuralism Knowledge as Conversation The Local Narratives of Public Administration Implications
9. Language, Discourse, and Rationality: The Foundations of a Narrative Theory of Knowledge References Index


Jay D. White is a professor of public administration at the University of Nebraska, Omaha and coeditor of Research in Public Administration: Reflections on Theory and Practice (Sage Publications, 1994). He is editor of the annual, Research in Public Administration.


"This serious, demanding book provides a valuable service to advanced students of public administration and their professors... [Jay D. White's] success is due primarily to his impressive command of the literature in [public administration and the philosophy of science] and his skillful integration of this literature into his overall argument." -- American Political Science Review
EAN: 9780878408788
ISBN: 0878408789
Untertitel: 'Narrative Foundations of Publi'. Empfohlen ab 22 Jahre. Revised. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Dezember 2001
Seitenanzahl: 232 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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