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Review of “Strategies for Governing”

Richard Huff reviews Strategies for Governing in the Journal of Political and Military Sociology: “Roberts succeeds in setting forth his charge for public administration to deemphasize the technical, efficiency-driven, myopic view of theory and practice and to urgently take on a new, bold view to meet the dangers facing us in this new century. . . . This brief, clearly written book is a must read for academics and an essential addition to the required reading for public administration graduate students. Overall, it makes an important contribution to understanding the significance of a much-needed shift toward a macro-level analysis and the renewal of the state as we hurtle into the face of powerful change.”

Karnataka conference on technology and ATI

I participated as a panelist during the February 15 conference on digital technology and access to information organized by the Karnataka Center for e-Governance and the Social Accountability Forum for Action and Research.

Interview about new book on Superstates

Here’s an interview in which I talk about my new book, Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century, forthcoming from Polity later this year. Read the interview. The blurb for the book is available here.

Panel on decolonizing PA

On January 28 I’ll participate in a panel discussion on “decolonizing teaching and research in public administration” organized by the Consortium of Race and Gender Scholars. Details here.

AALS series on the administrative state

With Professor Noah Rosenblum, I’m moderating an AALS series on the administrative state, bringing together experts in public administration and administrative law.

Details on the October 29 session here.

Details on the December 3 session here.

Details on the January 28 session here.

Riggs Award

I’m grateful to my friends in the ASPA Section for International and Comparative Administration for the 2022 Riggs Award for Lifetime Achievement. Story here.

Human Rights Day statement

Thirteen sections of the American Society for Public Administration, as well as the Public Administration Theory Network (PAT-Net), have endorsed a statement for Human Rights Day, which is December 10, 2021. It says in part: “As scholars and practitioners working in the field of public administration, we mark this day by reaffirming our commitment to human rights and fundamental democratic freedoms.” Read the full statement here.

Talk at Queen’s University

I’ll visit the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University on November 25 to talk to MPA810, Introduction to Public Administration. Topic: Strategies, paradigms and the machinery of government.

Co-editing special issue on PA and human rights

With Professor Bill Resh, I’m c-editing a special issue of Perspectives on Public Management and Governance on the connections between public administration, human rights and democracy. See the call for paper abstracts. Deadline for submissions is January 7, 2022.

Description for new book, “Superstates”

Here’s the description for Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century, forthcoming from Polity in late 2022. Details and pre-order on the Polity website. Pre-order on Amazon US. Pre-order on Amazon UK.

Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century

In this century, the world will conduct an extraordinary experiment in government. In 2050, forty percent of the planet’s population will live in just four places: India, China, the European Union, and the United States. These are superstates — polities that are distinguished from normal countries by expansiveness, population, diversity, and complexity.

How should superstates be governed? What must their leaders do to hold these immense polities together in the face of extraordinary strains and shocks? Alasdair Roberts looks to history for answers. Superstates, he contends, wrestle with the same problems of leadership, control and purpose that plagued empires for centuries. But they also bear heavier burdens than empires — including the obligation to improve life for ordinary people and respect human rights.

One axiom of history was that empires always died. Size and complexity led to fragility, and imperial rulers improvised constantly to put off the day of reckoning. Leaders of superstates are doing the same today, pursuing radically different strategies for governing at scale that have profound implications for democracy and human rights. History shows that there are ways to govern these sprawling and diverse polities well. But this requires a different way of thinking about the art and methods of statecraft.