231 - BOOK REVIEWS Gender Images in PA The Debate Is Joined...

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BOOK REVIEWS Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory , Vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 231–237 © 2003 Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Inc. Gender Images in PA: The Debate Is Joined Camilla Stivers. 2002. Gender Images in Public Administration: Legitimacy and the Administrative State , second edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 184 pp. The distinction in Western liberal thought between public and private has created gender bi- ases (or dilemmas of gender) that are inherent in the “images of professional expertise, management, leadership and public virtue that mark justifications of administrative power” (3). This core theme flows through Cam Stivers’s second edition of Gender Images in Pub- lic Administration . Why a second edition? As the author notes, ten years later the profession of public administration looks little different from before; it still fails to recognize how con- cepts of gender underlie much of the administrative state and, in the process, exacerbates overt and subtle discrimination on the basis of sex. The result is that “the structural nature of public administration’s masculine bias means that equal opportunity strategies for ad- vancing women’s careers in public service, important as they are as a matter of sheer justice, cannot be counted on in and of themselves to change public administration affairs” (12). Gender Images in Public Administration is not an easy read; one does not sit down with a glass of chardonnay and spend a pleasant evening with it. Those seeking a concise “womanifesto” to challenge public administration will be disappointed. The prose is heavy, and more of Stivers’s sense of humor would be welcome (e.g., leadership is described as the phlogiston of public administration). Stivers is a political theorist who incorporates the lan- guage and the logic of political theory. She writes as a feminist democrat. She challenges, drawing on not only feminist theory but also both classical and postmodern political theory. She likens her approach to that of Dwight Waldo rather than Herbert Simon. A preliminary chapter provides a short, interesting history of women in government employment, worth reading as a stand-alone. Despite a wealth of historical information, a few key elements of the literature are missing. The American Federal Executive ’s (Warner et al. 1963) classic chapter on women in the higher civil service is not cited. Of the landmark state-level studies by Guy (1992), Kelly (1991), and Duerst-Lahti and Kelly (1995), only a single book is included. When questioning whether women’s perceptions of their situation are accurate because they show no differences, the work of Dolan (2002; 2000) would offer a useful counterpoint. Another chapter presents the unorthodox idea that women and their activities funda- mentally altered the public administration state. Stivers presents a convincing case that modern government, with its emphasis on social services, the use of the positive state to counter deep-seated problems, and the notion that government can be an instrument of re- form, had its roots in women’s organizations. The distinct difference between government
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