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 24: Public participation in American public administration

Tina Nabatchi, Suyeon Jo and Matt Leighninger


This chapter begins by examining the current state of participation in American public administration. Specifically, it defines public participation, clarifies the differences between indirect and direct participation, and examines the three most prominent categories of direct public participation—conventional, thin, and thick—exploring their strengths and weaknesses. It then turns to history, examining moments in time that shaped how participation is used in public administration. It pays particular attention to disconnects between participatory processes and the formal structures and systems of government. Finally, the chapter looks to the future, exploring what it will take to build better participation infrastructures for twenty-first century democracy.

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