Virtual town halls, e-governments the future of civic society?

Twenty-first century public service suggests the promise of new media and digital technologies: are virtual town halls and e-governments the future of civic society?

Robert A. Cropf provides a comprehensive exploration of public administration research trends and practices and the promises of e-government and virtual town halls, in American Public Administration: Public Service for the 21st Century.

In American Public Administration, Cropf covers public administration, examining the broader context within which these concepts operate. An extensive survey of current developments and standing practices unfolds topically per chapter. The book also offers a number of resources to aid readers by way of case studies, visual representations and web  links.

Cropf discusses the growth of the nonprofit sector, quasi-governmental entities, the role of private firms in public service delivery, and new, complex sociopolitical realities of the digital age. Noting that most research on public administration tends to speak at the federal level, Cropf addresses the need for focussing on the state and local levels and provides greater discussion at these levels. Pointing to the need for greater collaborative qualities in contemporary leadership,he discusses effective leadership and connects effective public management with the empowerment of citizens, facilitated through new technologies that enable participatory processes such as the virtual town hall.

Cropf explores the promises of new media and digital technologies that enable virtual town halls for public deliberation as an emerging and contended space. Cropf argues that while virtual town halls and e-governments can serve as incubators for future civil societies, their potential to strengthen democracy will be shaped by how public administrators and elected leaders address issues of access and impact.
Dr. Robert A. Cropf is Professor of Political Science and Director of the M.P.A. Program at Saint Louis University, Missouri. His teaching focuses on public administration with areas of research in e-governance, public budgeting, policy processes, state and local politics, and comparative public administration.

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