Date of Award


Degree Type



Urban Studies

First Advisor

Spicer, Michael

Subject Headings

Rorty, Richard, Authority, Public Administration, Neopragmatism, Authority, Epistemic Community, Public Administration, Richard Rorty


Public Administration Is Challenged to Provide a Coherent Model of Authority in Modern Democratic Society. Authority Is Necessary for Governance, yet It Runs Against the Liberal State. Reconciling Administrative Authority with the American Polity Requires an Approach That Situates Governance as the Outcome of Communal Solidarity. This Reconciliation Includes Deflating the Metanarrative of Authority That Has Been Constructed on Traditions of Administrative Representation, Expertise, and Practice. These Traditions of Authority Must Be Redescribed in Current Contexts and Shaped by the Discourse Between Public Administration and the Polity as Equal Members of an Epistemic Community. Neopragmatism, the Postmodern Upgrade to Classical Pragmatism's "Truth as Justified Belief", Is Offered as the Theoretical Approach to Reframe Administrative Authority by a Process That Works for Consensus About Public Problems and Governance in Light of the Objective of Social Progress