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Abstract

Over the last century, the skills, ideas, and values upheld within the field of public administration (PA) have undergone several major shifts. We seem to be in the midst of another such transition, as PA schools react to new perspectives about the state of democracy and citizenship. Most of these arguments focus on the more participatory aspects of democracy, and emphasize the need for governments to work more directly and interactively with citizens. “Democratic governance” is one term used to describe this set of ideas. This article explores the relationship between PA and democratic governance through interviews with professors and other observers of the discipline. The picture that emerges is that of a field in flux, spurred both by theoretical claims and by the practical needs of administrators, being pushed from a narrow focus on management to a broader conception of governing.

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