Narratives of participatory governance: Social science and democracy in Mark Bevir’s a theory of governance

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Mark Bevir’s A Theory of Governance proposes a Copernican revolution in the way we understand the role of social science in public administration. Conventional accounts assign social science the role of instructing public administrators how to steer its machinery towards the public interest, based on social science’s alleged ability to explain how people act and what they need. Bevir offers a vision of public administration in which ordinary people take a leading role by engaging in dialogues in which they articulate their needs. In this vision, the role of social science is to facilitate those public dialogues. This essay offers a sympathetic critical evaluation of Bevir’s exploration of what it means to understand social science as a facilitator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-388
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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