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Social Justice and Qualitative Praxis

Author: ERIC K. AUSTIN and JEFFREY C. CALLEN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 42 No. 2

In too many instances of excessive force involving police, law enforcement agencies turn to their own policies to justify behavior that resulted in civilian injuries and deaths. In this article, we explore how the structure of contemporary administrative ethical theory and practice hopes to mitigate instances of harm and injustice done by public administrators and institutions. Critiques of administrative ethics reveal a particular logic that posits “good knowledge” as the basis of right or ethical action, and correspondingly that ethical administrators are such because they are able to act on good information. We extend the critique of instrumental rationality in administrative ethics, and the institutional structures that result from that logic, and then introduce an alternative normative orientation towards governance, which we call qualitative praxis, which we argue better responds to the paradoxical and wicked conditions of late-modern governance.

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