The essential premise of critical social theory is that contemporary society is neither democratic nor free, but that modern global capitalism creates a citizenry satiated with consumer goods, unaware of alternative ways of living. In the public sector, critical theory suggests that governing systems are influenced, if not controlled, by the wealthy and powerful, leaving public professionals to decide whether to serve those interests or the interests of a broader public. This book provides a framework for the application of critical social theory in public administration. Its goal is to encourage awareness among public administration scholars and practitioners of social conditions that tend to shape and constrain scholarship, practice, teaching, and social change. At a time when concern for public interest and a civil society have largely been displaced by the goals of economic efficiency and the "New Public Management," Critical Social Theory in Public Administration presents a viable alternative that incorporates the latest views of postmodern thinking with the central elements of critical social theory.
Introduction; 1. Critical Imagination in a Postmodern Environment; 2. Contradiction, Utopia, and Public Administration; 3. The "T"ruth is Elsewhere: Critical History; 4. Critical Theory and the Paradox of Discourse; 5. Pragmatic Discourse and Administrative Legitimacy; 6. Private Lives and Anti-Administration; 7. Critical Practice and the Problem of Finding a Public