2017 Transatlantic Dialogue: Sustaining a Democratic Public Sector in an Era of Multiple Challenges and Constraints

07 December 2016

Subtheme: International Migration, Changing Demographics and the Rise of Intense Nationalism

Florida International University, Miami, 5-8 April 2017

Deadline for proposals: December 20th, 2016

During the course of the past year, governments on both sides of the Atlantic have witnessed a series of unusual, and in some cases, unanticipated but highly significant political events. Taken together, these events have represented both past, and undoubtedly future, challenges to the sustaining of effective public management and responsive government more generally. Indeed, in some cases, these events have even raised significant concern as regards the stability of democratic government in some countries of both North America and Europe.

The 2017 Transatlantic Dialogue, which will be hosted by the Department of Public Administration, the Institute for Public Management and Community Service and the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs of Florida International University, on behalf of both the American Society for Public Administration and the European Group on Public Administration and which will take place on April 5-8, 2017 in Miami, Florida, will address topics relevant to the issues involved in the sustaining of both an effective public sector and democratic governance.

SUBTHEME 4: International Migration, Changing Demographics and the Rise of Intense Nationalism

People are on the move, more often and over greater distances, with the U.N. reporting a 41% increase in international migration between 2000 and 2015. For migrants, this mobility can bring new economic opportunities or new forms of discrimination; for destination countries, migration can bring the benefits of diversity or populist backlash.  Whether experienced as benefit or curse, international migration poses difficult and novel governance challenges. How can public services be delivered to diverse and floating populations? How can migration be managed in an increasingly globalising world? How can existing policies and institutions be responsive to growing religious, cultural and racial diversity? And how can nations and regions cope with political resentment toward migration and diversity?

This panel welcomes a variety of perspectives on these governance challenges. Traditional public administration perspectives on public service delivery or representative bureaucracy, for example, might be extended to understanding the challenges of serving "super-diverse" immigrant communities.  Policy perspectives might be valuable for understanding the turbulent policy dynamics surrounding the movement, settlement and integration of migrants.  Political science perspectives may illuminate the political and institutional logics that lead to intense nationalism and a multilevel governance perspective might usefully reveal the difficulties of governing a domain that inevitably spans multiple levels. These perspectives and others can help public administration better respond to the complex governance challenges posed by international migration.

Paper proposals

Paper proposals are sought on each of the four subthemes noted above as well as the broader dialogue theme of "Sustaining a Democratic Public Sector in an Era of Multiple Challenges and Constraints." In that regard, we have intentionally, in establishing the theme for the 2017 Transatlantic Dialogue, sought to go beyond the often somewhat narrowly focused and highly specific themes that characterize many conferences on public administration and sought instead to look at not only issues directly impacting effective public management, but also the broader context within which the public sector on both sides of the Atlantic must function. Nevertheless, both the general conference theme and the four sub-themes are all ones which lend themselves to analysis in terms of such traditional concerns of the field as improving human resource management, effective use of performance indicators, strategies for administrative innovations and building public-private partnership.

The theme and sub-themes of the Conference do, however, reflect the very strong belief of the organizers that the context in which the public sector functions profoundly impacts its ability to deliver effective public services and that too often discussions of public administration are so narrowly focused as to not address those issues that most significantly impact public sector functioning. Given this reality, the organizers encourage papers that reflect multiple approaches to the study of the field. This would include papers that approach the theme and subthemes of the conference from many different perspectives including theoretical, philosophical, synthetic and empirical. This reflects the fact that it is important for the discipline of public administration to let a thousand flowers bloom.

More information 

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