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Outlining a theory about the practical use of theory: A discourse-practice theoretic analysis of academic public administration symposia genre

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Date Issued:
2001
Summary:
Academic public administration (APA) supposedly provides theoretic and programmatic guidance for bureaucratic public administration (BPA). But in reality, a relationship best characterized as a gap between "theory" (APA) and "practice" (BPA) is deemed to exist between the two social practices. Scholars who have analyzed APA theoretic literature ascribed the theory-practice problematic to methodological inadequacies, the implication being that investment in appropriate social science methods would enhance the intellectual rigor and social utility of APA discursive works. To provide a much richer perspective on the theory-practice problematic, this study conceptualizes theoretic discourses as social actions. When scholars theorize, they invariably want to get things done, thus they are involved in social actions linked to some purposes, interests, and issues. As individuals with disciplinary affiliations and commitments, APA scholars bring purposes and interests to their work. So, what kinds of purposes underpin APA theoretic works? Since actions are meaningful within social practices, a corollary question is: What disciplinary influences constrain or authorize APA discourse, and why? To answer the questions posed: first, a discourse analytic method is utilized to analyze textual cohorts (i.e., authorial intentions, issues, themes, genre forms, and methods) in symposia articles published in five mainstream APA journals over a fifteen-year period. Second, a conceptual framework for understanding the disciplinary conditions authorizing and restricting theoretic discourse is outlined using the parameters of practice theory. Discourse analysis and practice theory are complimentary methodological and analytic tools. Discourse analysis focuses on discourse systems, whereas practice theory seeks to explain the relationships that obtain between human actions and social systems. In other words, discourse-practice approach focuses on the individuals' choices of discursive activities and explains how these choices are shaped by the social practices within which the discursive activities unfold. Using insights from practice theory, a speculative perspective relating the failure to reconfigure the discipline's telos in light of changed objective conditions is offered as the basis for the theory-practice problematic in academic public administration.
Title: Outlining a theory about the practical use of theory: A discourse-practice theoretic analysis of academic public administration symposia genre.
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Name(s): Jaja, Cheedy
Florida Atlantic University, Degree Grantor
Miller, Hugh T., Thesis Advisor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2001
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 248 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Academic public administration (APA) supposedly provides theoretic and programmatic guidance for bureaucratic public administration (BPA). But in reality, a relationship best characterized as a gap between "theory" (APA) and "practice" (BPA) is deemed to exist between the two social practices. Scholars who have analyzed APA theoretic literature ascribed the theory-practice problematic to methodological inadequacies, the implication being that investment in appropriate social science methods would enhance the intellectual rigor and social utility of APA discursive works. To provide a much richer perspective on the theory-practice problematic, this study conceptualizes theoretic discourses as social actions. When scholars theorize, they invariably want to get things done, thus they are involved in social actions linked to some purposes, interests, and issues. As individuals with disciplinary affiliations and commitments, APA scholars bring purposes and interests to their work. So, what kinds of purposes underpin APA theoretic works? Since actions are meaningful within social practices, a corollary question is: What disciplinary influences constrain or authorize APA discourse, and why? To answer the questions posed: first, a discourse analytic method is utilized to analyze textual cohorts (i.e., authorial intentions, issues, themes, genre forms, and methods) in symposia articles published in five mainstream APA journals over a fifteen-year period. Second, a conceptual framework for understanding the disciplinary conditions authorizing and restricting theoretic discourse is outlined using the parameters of practice theory. Discourse analysis and practice theory are complimentary methodological and analytic tools. Discourse analysis focuses on discourse systems, whereas practice theory seeks to explain the relationships that obtain between human actions and social systems. In other words, discourse-practice approach focuses on the individuals' choices of discursive activities and explains how these choices are shaped by the social practices within which the discursive activities unfold. Using insights from practice theory, a speculative perspective relating the failure to reconfigure the discipline's telos in light of changed objective conditions is offered as the basis for the theory-practice problematic in academic public administration.
Identifier: 9780493413563 (isbn), 11970 (digitool), FADT11970 (IID), fau:8887 (fedora)
Note(s): Thesis (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2001.
Subject(s): Public administration
Policy sciences
Discourse analysis
Critical theory
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/11970
Sublocation: Digital Library
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.