What is the public value of government action? Towards a (new) pragmatic approach to values questions in public endeavours

K. West, P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-241
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Administration
Volume89
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jul 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

Keywords

  • public administration

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