Handbook of American Public Administration
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Handbook of American Public Administration

Edited by Edmund C. Stazyk and H. G. Frederickson

The Handbook of American Public Administration draws on the expertise of established and emerging scholars to provide national and international audiences a comprehensive review of the current state and future direction of theory and practice in US public administration. The authors provide a cross-disciplinary, holistic review of the field and pave an agenda for future research.
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Chapter 2: The value of historical perspectives in public administration

Peter Stanley Federman


Many scholars have utilized history, including that of the administrative state specifically and that of a more contextual variety, to great effect in the work on American political development, policy history, and other subfields of political science and public administration. However, history can and should play a more central role in the discipline of public administration. Using Dwight Waldo’s foundational work in the field as a starting point and theoretical frame, this chapter reviews the ways in which scholars have put to use their understanding of history to move the field forward, and re-conceptualizes that frame to better serve scholars in the contemporary era.

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