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'Genre blurring' in public administration: what can we learn from the humanities

'Genre blurring' in public administration: what can we learn from the humanities
'Genre blurring' in public administration: what can we learn from the humanities
This article seeks to broaden the craft of public administration by ‘blurring genres’. First, I explain the phrase ‘blurring genres’. Second, I provide some examples of early work in administrative ethnography. Third, I compare this early, modernist-empiricist ethnography with interpretive ethnography, suggesting researchers confront three choices: naturalism vs. anti-naturalism; intensive vs. hit-and-run fieldwork; and generalisation vs. local knowledge. After this general discussion, and fourth, I discuss the more prosaic issues that confront anyone seeking to use ethnography to study public administration and look at fieldwork roles, relevance, time, evidence and fieldwork relationships. Fifth, I describe and illustrate the several tools students of public administration can use as well as observation and interviews; namely, focus groups, para-ethnography, visual ethnography, and storytelling. Finally, I conclude that ethnographic fieldwork provides texture, depth and nuance, and lets interviewees explain the meaning of their actions. It is an indispensable tool and a graphic example of how to enrich public administration by drawing on the theories and methods of the humanities.
0313-6647
317-330
Rhodes, R.A.W.
cdbfb699-ba1a-4ff0-ba2c-060626f72948
Rhodes, R.A.W.
cdbfb699-ba1a-4ff0-ba2c-060626f72948

Rhodes, R.A.W. (2014) 'Genre blurring' in public administration: what can we learn from the humanities. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 73 (3), 317-330. (doi:10.1111/1467-8500.12085).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article seeks to broaden the craft of public administration by ‘blurring genres’. First, I explain the phrase ‘blurring genres’. Second, I provide some examples of early work in administrative ethnography. Third, I compare this early, modernist-empiricist ethnography with interpretive ethnography, suggesting researchers confront three choices: naturalism vs. anti-naturalism; intensive vs. hit-and-run fieldwork; and generalisation vs. local knowledge. After this general discussion, and fourth, I discuss the more prosaic issues that confront anyone seeking to use ethnography to study public administration and look at fieldwork roles, relevance, time, evidence and fieldwork relationships. Fifth, I describe and illustrate the several tools students of public administration can use as well as observation and interviews; namely, focus groups, para-ethnography, visual ethnography, and storytelling. Finally, I conclude that ethnographic fieldwork provides texture, depth and nuance, and lets interviewees explain the meaning of their actions. It is an indispensable tool and a graphic example of how to enrich public administration by drawing on the theories and methods of the humanities.

Text
AJPA Blurred Genres final.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Published date: 23 September 2014
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 374307
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/374307
ISSN: 0313-6647
PURE UUID: a2e0c4f9-97be-4e5c-8c9a-0de97e6b0a68
ORCID for R.A.W. Rhodes: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1886-2392

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Date deposited: 13 Feb 2015 09:20
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:38

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