Volume 4, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2005
from the Section Chair
hope that your summer is going well. The 2005 annual APSA conference is approaching.
Our thanks to Kathy Naff for her splendid work as Program Chair for the conference.
Please check the APSA website @ http://www.apsanet.org
for conference updates and registration information.
would like to call your attention to a few items in the newsletter. First, please
be certain to attend the APSA panel organized by Professor Mel Dubnick, "Before
the Simon Award," scheduled Thursday, September 1 at 4:15. It features prominent
speakers you won't want to miss. More
information on this panel can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
panel has been organized in conjunction with the new book award launched this
year: the Herbert A. Simon Best Book Award for significant contributions to public
administration scholarship. The co-winners of the award for 2005 are: Steven Maynard-Moody
and Michael Musheno for Cops
Teachers, Counselors: Stories from the Front Lines of Public Service (University
of Michigan Press) and John A. Rohr for Civil
Servants and Their Constitutions, (University of Kansas Press). Our thanks
to the Simon Book Award committee: Beryl Radin, Chair; Hal Rainey and Jocelyn
Johnston. Awards will be made at the section business meeting: Friday, September
2, at 12 noon. Please make every effort to attend the meeting, as well as the
section reception, co-sponsored with the Public Policy section and the Policy
Studies Organization: Thursday, September 1 at 7 p.m.
item of interest is the ongoing effort of APSA to promote mentoring. Please direct
interested graduate students as well as new faculty to the APSA's Mentor Database,
which is intended to connect grad students and faculty with professors in the
field who can provide mentorship on matters of the profession and career development.
I would like to extend a warm welcome to Kathyrn Newcomer, who will serve as Section
Chair from 2005-2006. See you in Washington, D.C. and please keep in touch!
Rutgers University, Newark
APSA has introduced a program of Working
Groups on Political Science at its 2005 Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting Working
Group is a small group of meeting attendees interested in a common topic who agree
to attend panels and plenaries aligned with the topic and convene 2 or more times
at the meeting for discussion of them. The idea is to simulate a working group
conference experience amidst the panels.
Section Members will be interested in sponsoring or participating in a Working
Group in their area of specialization. Contact Ebony Ramsey at email@example.com
if you are interested. You can find more information on organizing or signing
up for an AMWG by visiting http://www.apsanet.org/section_584.cfm.
In Search of the Most Influential PA
Books of the 20th Century
the awarding of the Section's first Simon Book Award for PA books of significance,
one wonders which was the most signficant PA book of the 20th century. Tough question
-- and we want you to help us answer it.
This is the first year for the awarding of
the PA Section's Herbert Simon Book Award, and the honored titles will be recognized
at the Section's Business meeting at noon on Friday, September 2. When the idea
for the award was being considered at last year's APSA in Chicago, some of us
wondered about which of the many outstanding PA books of the past would warrant
being called the most influential of the past century. And so was born the panel
session we are calling "Before the Simon."
for Thursday, September 1 at 4:15, the session is patterned after a BBC show related
to the annual awarding of the United Kingdom's most prestigious book award, the
Man Booker Prize. Given each year
to the most outstanding work of fiction in English by a "Commonwealth"
author (Americans need not apply...), it has the status of the Oscars or Emmys
for many. The BBC created a TV show televised about the same time as the Booker
Prize ceremony called "Before the Booker" in which a Oxford style debate
is conducted between two teams, each advocating for a classic work from a selected
year or era. And so, was the most significant work published in 1954 the Lord
of the Rings or the Lord of the Flies? Or how about 1966: would you support Capote's
In Cold Blood or Fowles' The Magus? In each show you would hear a debate between
teams advocating each title (and critiquing the 'opposition'), and then the audience
The "Before the Simon" panel
will pit two works regarded by all as classics from the post-World War Two era
that are arguably the most cited and referenced PA books of their time: Herbert
Simon's Administrative Behavior and Dwight
Waldo's The Administrative State. The question on the table at the panel is:
which should be deemed the more significant in terms of its contricution to the
field of public administration and the more general political science discipline.
panel will be chaired -- and the debate moderated -- by Ken Meier of Texas A&M,
and the advocates for each title. In support of Waldo's classic The Administrative
State will be Richard Stillman (University of Colorado-Denver and newly selected
editor of PAR) and Camilla Stivers (the current associate editor of PAR from Cleveland
State University). Advocating for Simon's Administrative Behavior will be Larry
Lynn (Texas A&M) and Bryan Jones (University of Washington). Conducted under
Oxford debating rules modified for the occassion, the session will conclude with
a vote by the audience which will pass judgment as to which work is indeed worthy
of being called the most signficant PA book of the 20th century!
offer a taste of what is in store at the panel we've asked for a short contribution
from advocates from each side -- Cam Stivers for the Waldoites and Larry Lynn
for the Simonites.
We hope you will join us for
this celebration of the Simon Award launch -- and join in the (serious) fun....
As I see it, the seeds of the upcoming
"gunfight at the APSA corral" were planted several years ago when Socratic
gadfly Mel Dubnick had the chutzpah to appear before the PA Theory Network in
conclave assembled and tell us that public administration was going to the dogs
because it wasn't scientific enough. When I heard him say the sorry state of scholarship
in the field showed that Dwight Waldo had won the Simon-Waldo debate, I heard
the strains of the "Twilight Zone" theme echoing in my ears. Mel (the
impresario of the APSA panel) and I have been joshing each other ever since about
who really won that debate.
Fortunately, the "debate
on the debate" is not going to be about who won-that is, which of these eminences
has had the greatest influence on the field of public administration. The more
interesting-and debatable-question is who should have won, or to put it in a more
forward-looking way, whose message is most important for the field right now and
into the future. The Administrative State has influenced me more deeply than any
other single work in the field (evidence enough for some, I admit, that Waldo's
legacy has been dubious at best). I look forward to teaming up with Richard Stillman
to make the case for naming it the most important PA book of the 20th century.
As for what we plan to say to the "Simonizers," just wait until we see
the whites of their eyes!
- Cam Stivers
Nearly 60 years ago, two young scholars published
books on public administration that were based on their doctoral dissertations.
One, Herbert Simon, already had solid credentials and experience in the field.
The other, Dwight Waldo, was an outsider, an academic political philosopher who
viewed the field with undisguised contempt. The divergent perspectives of their
seminal books defined axes of intellectual tension that endure as leitmotifs of
professional discourse to this day.
Simon, who met
Waldo's own criteria for creating serious political philosophy-- being close enough
to government for first-hand knowledge and seeking to solve problems judged to
be important and urgent--left as his intellectual legacy a body of ideas that
have been highly influential in the development of public administration as a
field of serious scholarship. Waldo's legacy comprises neither ideas nor methods
but, rather, a sardonic attitude toward both concepts and empiricism and, specifically,
toward Simon's contributions. Yet, ironically, it is Waldo, not Simon, who enjoys
iconic status within a profession whose chronic state of intellectual crisis is
largely due to Waldo himself.
-Laurence E. Lynn,