Coping with the practical problems of bureaucracy is hampered by the limited self-conception and the constricted mindsets of mainstream public administration thinking. Modernist public administration theory, although valuable and capable of producing ever more remarkable results, is limiting as an explanatory and catalytic force in resolving fundamental problems about the nature, size, scope, and functioning of public bureaucracy and in transforming public bureaucracy into a more positive force.
This original study specifies a reflexive language paradigm for public administration thinking and shows how a postmodern perspective permits a revolution in the character of thinking about public bureaucracy. The author considers imagination, deconstruction, deterritorialization, and alterity. Farmer's work emphasizes the need for an expansion in the character and scope of public administration's disciplinary concerns and shows clearly how the study and practice of public administration can be reinvigorated.