n Journal of Public Administration - Editorial

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



A robust early classification of political organisations was the influential grouping by Aristotle (384-322 BC) of the 158 Greek city states that had been in existence over the two preceding centuries. The diversity of the political arrangements offered Aristotle an ideal laboratory to consider which type of political system reflected what he saw as optimal government. Since then, the continuing debate on the role of government in society has taken many forms, extending, in particular, to the field of public administration. Within Africa, this debate has been rather intense, especially since the 1980s, as a result of the doctrines advanced by New Public Management (NPM) ideology which was based on market philosophies. The "African society", so-called, can be classified into geographical regions, but within them, as Huntington (1991:8) cautions, no political regime fits neatly into an intellectually defined box, and any system of classification must accept the existence of ambiguous, borderline and mixed cases. Seen in this perspective, there can be no monopoly of knowledge that would give scholars in a given region final authority in assessment of issues in their particular milieu. While it is important, and indeed beneficial, that views from scholars in other regions are welcome in such an issue to provide a range of templates for comparative analysis, this issue relies on articles incubated in the East African region, but with contributors having significant exposure in other jurisdictions.

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