Mythologies of Governing: Symbols, Stories, and Narratives

Invitation to the Conference

Since earliest times societies developed symbols, stories, and narratives that relate the practice of governing to established traditions, histories, and dominant systems of belief. The process of constituting nations, organizations, and communities requires such narratives that bind the population to a common understanding of the self and normalize power relationships. Governing symbols, stories, and narratives are often longstanding and taken for granted becoming what ancient Hellenes considered to be myths. These mythologies of governing can be based on real or imagined events and commonly have very tangible implications in the practice of governing. The theme of the conference particularly questions those narratives in modern societies and organizations that are hegemonic, claimed as permanent and universal, those narratives that are habitually accepted as given. The theme is also open to discussions of symbolic and narrative methods that are pertinent to the study of governance as well as any other well-crafted administrative and policy theory inquiries. Narratives and symbols of nationalism, individualism, collectivism, bureaucracy, invisible-hand of the market, freedom and equality (or the lack thereof), racial, gender, cultural, and other forms of discrimination, are among many that require critical examination in the contemporary times of turmoil and crisis.

The theme of this annual conference of the Public Administration Theory Network invites scholarly papers from diverse perspectives and seeks to inspire an open and theoretical discussion of governing symbols, stories, and narratives. The conference program committee may also consider a wide range of critical and interpretative administrative and policy theory proposals not limited to the theme.

Publication Opportunities

Authors of completed full-length papers presented at the conference may be invited for consideration for publication in a special symposium for the June 2012 (vol. 34, n. 2) issue of Administrative Theory & Praxis. Details regarding the selection and review process for this symposium will be distributed after the conference committee has completed its selection.

Proposals for Panels/Roundtables and Papers

Submissions addressing the theme of the conference could be in the form of full or partial panels, roundtables, or papers. All proposals should be sent to Dragan Staniševski at by November 15, 2010.

The Program Committee encourages proposals for panels. Panels should include three participants, including the convener, as well as a moderator/discussant. Panel discussion may be in the form of presentations from papers or other research or creative work underway, or presented as a roundtable. If the proposal does not include a moderator/discussant, the program committee will assign one. Panel proposals should include:

  • Panel/roundtable title
  • Names, organizational affiliations, and e-mail addresses for the convener, participants, and moderator/discussant
  • An abstract of each participant’s proposed paper/discussion, not to exceed 300 words in length. Each abstract should include the participant’s name, organizational affiliation, and a title or topic for the discussion
  • Description of the mode of discussion, as well as linkage of the panel topic to the conference theme, and the linkage of each participant’s discussion to the panel topic

Proposals for individual papers should include: title of paper, name(s) of author(s), organizational affiliation(s) and e-mail address(es), and an abstract, not to exceed 300 words in length, which describes the substance of the paper. All proposals should be sent to Dragan Staniševski at by November 15, 2010.

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