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The British Study of Politics in the Twentieth Century$
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Jack Hayward, Brian Barry, and Archie Brown

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262948

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262948.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

: British Public Administration

: British Public Administration

Dodo, Phoenix or Chameleon?

(p.286) (p.287) 10: British Public Administration
The British Study of Politics in the Twentieth Century

Christopher Hood

British Academy

This chapter discusses three possible interpretations of the development of British Public Administration over the twentieth century as a way of assessing its contribution to political science. Those interpretations are respectively labelled ‘dodo’, ‘phoenix’, and ‘chameleon’. The ‘dodo’ interpretation is a pessimistic fin de siècle view of British Public Administration as in serious decline from early promise and former greatness. The ‘phoenix’ interpretation is a more optimistic perception of the subject as advancing in scientific rigour and conceptual sophistication over the century, leaving behind the outmoded styles of the past. A third view, the ‘chameleon’ interpretation, is a picture of lateral transformation, with the adoption of new intellectual colouring and markings to fit a new era.

Keywords:   British Public Administration, political science, conceptual sophistication, lateral transformation, fin de siècle

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