Date of Award


Degree Type



Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Stivers, Camilla

Subject Headings

Public administration, United States -- Politics and government, Global warming, Consumption (Economics), Cooptation, Sustainability, Global warming -- Prevention -- Citizen participation, World risk society, Administrative state, Consumptive state, Politics-technoscience dichotomy, Global warming, Governance gaps, Commoditization, Contempocentrism, Overconsumption, Cooptation, Sustainability, Sustainable public service


This normative analysis builds upon Ulrich Beck's world risk society theory to argue that the United States is making a shift of revolutionary proportions from an administrative state to a consumptive state. Public administration theory is assessed for its ability to address a consumptive state's unprecedented dynamics, e.g., accelerating technoscientific development and mega-hazards such as global warming. Qualitative evidence suggests that the field's adaptability has been limited by a continued, if generally unacknowledged, embrace of obsolete normative commitments such as to a politics-technoscience dichotomy, contempocentrism, and overconsumption. The sustainability movement, a discourse coalition with roots largely outside public administration, is presented as having the greatest potential of transcending the field's limitations if it avoids cooptation by a technocratic mindset. Institutional implications of knowledge production are critiqued and reforms suggested. A new school of thought is sketched - sustainable public service - that imports sustainability principles into public administration education