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MAY 2016: Public Administration Theory Network
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5/19/2016 to 5/23/2016
When: 5/19/2016

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Public Administration Theory Network


Call for Panel and Paper Proposals


For the 2016 Annual Conference

May 19-23, 2016

San Antonio, Texas


Due Monday November 16, 2015


Important Immeasurables and Public Administration Theory


There are many important aspects to understanding and practicing public administration that many would consider immeasurable. These include character traits such as leadership and integrity; emotions such as fear and happiness; and, sensations such as pain and stress. We must also consider governmentalities, intentionalities, political power, sovereignty, democracy, contestation, compromise, autonomy, innovation, representativeness, racism, objectivity, discretion, “best practices,” and, of course, ideas and aesthetics. Yet, at the same time, the field of public administration finds itself in the midst of an enhanced and sometimes quixotic quest for measurability. Calls for empiricist analysis, evidence-based practice, improved assessment, performance management, and so on, are typical of this phenomenon. This begs a number of important questions. Can we measure the immeasurable? Should we measure the immeasurable? What are the implications of leaving important governing aspects unmeasured? By contrast, what are the implications of measuring them? Are there alternatives to our current understandings of measurement?

The Public Administration Theory Network (aka PATNet) is a community of scholars who do not let issues of measurability stand in the way of their willingness to engage the difficult issues and aspects of public administration. Its 2016 conference theme embraces the need for public administration to continue the quest to understand the importance of immeasurables—and immeasurability—for its praxis.

The 2016 Program Committee invites panel and paper proposals that track along the conference theme and/or any of the following topics:


1. The role of theorists in public administration.

2. Comparative and international public administration theory.

3. Nonprofits, NGOs and foundations in public administration theory.

4. Market narratives: Implications for public administration theory.

5. Social media and public administration theory.

6. Political theory(ies) and public administration.

7. Social theory(ies) and public administration.

8. Transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary theories of importance to public administration.

8. Activism and public administration theory.

9. Methodological issues and public administration theory.

10. Implementation/praxis and public administration theory.

11. None of the above, but important or interesting topics for public administration theory.

For panel proposals (which are encouraged), include a 250-500 word description of the panel theme and 150-250 word abstracts for each paper in the panel. Panels should normally include 3-4 papers, a convener and a discussant. Panel proposal should include at least 3 presenters. Additional panel members and conveners and discussants may be added by the program committee.

Paper proposals should take the form of 150-250 word abstracts.

For both papers and panels, please indicate how the proposal relates to the theme and/or topics listed above. Final paper titles may be submitted later.

Send proposals to:

Larry Luton (2016 Program Committee Chair) and

Billie Sandberg (2016 Program Committee Vice Chair)

by Monday, November 16, 2015.

For more information on the Public Administration Theory Network and the 2016 conference, see

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