Ege, Jörn

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Avoiding disciplinary garbage cans : a pledge for a problem-driven approach to researching international public administration

2022-07-03, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Bayerlein, Louisa, Eckhard, Steffen, Knill, Christoph

In this article, we distinguish two approaches to studying international public administrations (IPAs). On the one hand, there is a line of research that is grounded in traditional Public Administration (PA) and seeks to understand IPAs through established disciplinary lenses. On the other hand, scholars conceive IPAs as posing new problems and questions and are trying to integrate the standpoints of their respective disciplines into a broader research agenda. We argue that both perspectives have their merits – and limitations. However, the more IPAs are understood as phenomena heralding the emergence of transnationalized political systems, the less traditional PA toolkits appear able to capture the innovative aspects IPAs may hold. This essay thus argues for keeping IPA research as a field of study open, integrative and mixed – to encourage out of the box thinking and innovation, rather than stifle it.