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Loose Governance in Action: Tinkering Around in a Shrinking City
Administrative Theory & Praxis
  • Nicholas C. Zingale, Cleveland State University
  • Aritree Samanta
  • Esther J. West
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Eva Sørensen noted that “liberty is a way of governing not an opposing concept.” This is a powerful statement for public administration to contemplate as American society drifts further toward networked governance approaches. This article considers the role of public administration in community economic development projects when tinkering around with new ideas in legacy cities. Focusing on a worker-owned cooperative case in Cleveland, Ohio, we use in-depth interviews, observations, and document reviews to analyze the structural, conceptual, and contextual conditions leading to the formation of the cooperative. We discovered that innovative initiatives are not always well planned, can happen in the shadow of administration, and, in fact, might need to be structurally and functionally loose to enable social entrepreneurial bricoleurs (tinkerers) optimal space to play around with ideas. We argue that public administrators need to be aware of the overarching conditions framing community economic development projects (doxa) and offer a way for public administrators to think about their role within loose governance in order to gain and/or sustain political capital.
Citation Information
Nicholas C. Zingale, Aritree Samanta and Esther J. West. "Loose Governance in Action: Tinkering Around in a Shrinking City" Administrative Theory & Praxis Vol. 39 Iss. 1 (2017) p. 32 - 57
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