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From the dawn of civilization, political science and public administration have developed a close relationship. The development of a more stable society could not take place without the improvement and coordination of political and administrative techniques that foster social cohesion. Public administration and political science not only study and develop such techniques, but also work toward accomplishing such cohesion. For all its intellectual history, the field of public administration has been acknowledged to have a niche in the political science discipline. Yet this position has not always been a comfortable one. Through their quest for authority, autonomy, professionalism, and scientism, public administration and political science emerged as two disciplines that were proven capable of institutionalizing their distinct formal knowledge. The transformation of this body of knowledge, from generalized to more specialized, contributed at times to the alliance between the two disciplines and at other times to a growing tension between them and even separation. Despite a rocky journey, the two fields appeared to have a natural alliance that had endured harsh times and weak ties and was now making its way toward a rapprochement. This dissertation examines American Public Administration's relationship to political science. It analyzes major theoretical trends in both fields' history that have had a profound impact on the historical development of such relation. These include: politics-administration dichotomy, bureaucracy and democracy, theory and practice, and behavioralism. The method of research of this study is mainly historical. However, a content analysis is conducted. The data collected include primary sources, such as scholarly publications in both fields, and other related material such as the disciplines' academic organization and professional associations. When was the origin; what is the nature; and how is the present condition, of the two disciplines' relationship? These are some of the questions this work attempts to answer.
Public Administration, Political Science, Historical Analysis
Date of Defense
July 5, 2005.
A Dissertation submitted to the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Mary E. Guy, Professor Directing Dissertation; John Reynolds, Outside Committee Member; Frances S. Berry, Committee Member; Ralph Brower, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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