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The Blacksburg Manifesto and the Postmodern Debate: Public Administration in a Time Without a Name
The American Review of Public Administration
  • Gary S. Marshall, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Orion F. White, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
6-1-1990
Abstract
The question, "Does the message of the Blacksburg Manifesto fit the times that we are in now and the times that seem to be shaping up in the next decade or longer?" is addressed by epistemologically locating the Blacksburg Manifesto and by introducing the postmodern debate to the field of public administration. The well-known Blacksburg Manifesto is described as an example of high modernism, beyond the functionalist paradigm, because although the central commitment is to reason and progress, the classic forms of administrative rationality are surpassed. It is classified as high modernism because the agency perspective, as articulated in the Manifesto, calls for a dialogue that evokes reason through process in the tradition of Mary Parker Follett. The postmodern experience is described as connoting a world of immense complexity, hyperdiversity, and self-referentiality. Postmodernism requires assuming a posture toward the world that tolerates fundamental ambiguity and paradox. A postmodern perspective on the Blacksburg Manifesto is presented and the central paradox of the Manifesto is exposed.
Citation Information
Gary S. Marshall and Orion F. White. "The Blacksburg Manifesto and the Postmodern Debate: Public Administration in a Time Without a Name" The American Review of Public Administration Vol. 20 Iss. 2 (1990) p. 61 - 76
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gary_marshall/16/