Deliberating Like a State: Locating Public Administration Within the Deliberative System

Paper by Rikki Dean: “Public administration is the largest part of the democratic state and a key consideration in understanding its legitimacy. Despite this, democratic theory is notoriously quiet about public administration. One exception is deliberative systems theories, which have recognized the importance of public administration and attempted to incorporate it within their orbit. This article examines how deliberative systems approaches have represented (a) the actors and institutions of public administration, (b) its mode of coordination, (c) its key legitimacy functions, (d) its legitimacy relationships, and (e) the possibilities for deliberative intervention. It argues that constructing public administration through the pre-existing conceptual categories of deliberative democracy, largely developed to explain the legitimacy of law-making, has led to some significant omissions and misunderstandings. The article redresses these issues by providing an expanded conceptualization of public administration, connected to the core concerns of deliberative and other democratic theories with democratic legitimacy and democratic reform…(More)”.