Patricia M. Shields

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Patricia M. Shields
Born 1951
Main interests
Research methods, civil-military relations, gender studies, public administration, pragmatism, privatization
Notable ideas
Applying pragmatism to public administration

Patricia M. Shields (born 1951) is a Professor of Political Science at Texas State University. She is also the current editor of the journal Armed Forces & Society. [1][2] Patricia M. Shields is notable for her publications focusing on research methods, civil-military relations, gender issues, and the importance of classical pragmatism in public administration. She received a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland - College Park, an MA in Economics and a PhD in Public Administration from The Ohio State University.[3][4][5]


Patricia M. Shields is perhaps most widely known as a scholar for promoting the classical pragmatism of C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey as an "organizing principle" for the discipline of public administration. Her publication, "The Community of inquiry: Classical Pragmatism and Public Administration" (2003), began an ongoing, interdisciplinary, academic debate in the journal Administration & Society.[6] She applies the feminist pragmatism of Jane Addams to Public Administration.[7][8][9][10]

Shields is also notable in the public administration community for utilizing pragmatism to advance research methodology in the field.[11] For example, Shields is responsible in part for popularizing Dewey's notion of the working hypothesis as a method of preliminary, qualitative, exploratory research, in addition to the concept of the practical ideal type for program evaluation.[12][13][14][15]

She received recognition by the American Society for Public Administration, the Section for Women in Public Administration with the Rita Mae Kelly Award for her contribution to gender studies in public administration [16] and recognition from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration with the Leslie A. Whittington Award for excellence in teaching research methods.[17]



  1. Website accessed July 9, 2014.
  3. - website accessed 5/18/11
  4. - website accessed 5/18/11
  5. -website accessed 5/28/11
  6. Patricia M. Shields, (2003). "The Community of Inquiry: Classical Pragmatism and Public Administration." Administration & Society 35 (November): 510-538. The debate began with Miller, Hugh. (2004). Why old pragmatism needs an upgrade Administration & Society Vol. 36 (May): 243-249. Miller asserted that the neopragmatism of Richard Rorty was an upgrade to classical pragmatism. Miller took issue with the Community of inquiry concept defined through 1) problematic situation, 2) scientific attitude, and 3) participatory democracy. The primary dispute occurred over scientific attitude. Shields responded: (2004) Classical Pragmatism: Engaging Practitioner Experience Administration & Society 36 (July):351-362. Other public administration scholars contributed: Snider, Keith. (2005). Rorytan Pragmatism: 'where's the beef' for public administration Administration & SocietyVol. 37 (May):243-247; Evans, Karen. (2005). Upgrade or a different animal altogether? Why old pragmatism better informs public management and new pragmatism misses the point Administration & Society Vol. 37(May) 248-255; Stocis, Gregory. (2005). A view from the trenches: Comments on Miller's Why Old Pragmatism Needs an Upgrade Administration & Society Vol. 36 (July):362-369; Hildebrand, David. (2005) "Pragmatism, Neopragmatism, and Public Administration." Administration & Society 37(July): 345-359; Hickman, Larry. (2004). On Hugh Miller on 'Why old pragmatism needs an Upgrade' Administration & Society Vol. 36: 496-499; Webb, James. (2004). Comment on Hugh T. Miller's Why old Pragmatism needs an upgrade.' Administration & Society Vol. 36: 479-495; Hoch, Charles. (2006) "What Can Rorty Teach an Old Pragmatist Doing Public Administration or Planning? "Administration & Society" 38(3) 389-398. Hugh Miller responded to these critics: (2005) Residues of foundationalism in classical pragmatism Administration & Society Vol. 37(May):360-374, which was countered by Shields (2005) summarizing the responses and reiterating classical pragmatism's applicability to public administration: "Classical Pragmatism Does Not Need and Upgrade: Lessons for Public Administration". Administration & Society 37 (September), 504-518. In 2010, Karen Evans re-energized the discussion: "Into the Woods: A Cautionary Tale for Governance." Administration & Society 42(November): 859-883. Keith Snider (2011) responded to Evans' call for pragmatism with skepticism in "On the problem of adopting pragmatism in public administration." 37: 243-247. Philip Salem and Patricia Shields responded (2011)."Out of the Woods: Facilitating pragmatic inquiry and dialogue." 43:124-132, the debate was concluded (for now) by Travis Whetsell and Patricia Shields (2011). "Reconciling the Varieties of Pragmatism in Public Administration." Administration & Society 43:474- 483. Oliver Kasdan re-articulated the neopragmatist upgrade claim - (2011) A neopragmatist approach to administrative authority: Using rorty's liberalism for social progress. Administrative Theory & Praxis. Vol. 33.No. 4.- which was countered by Whetsell, Travis. (2012). Theory Pluralism in Public Administration: Epistemology, Legitimacy, and Method. American Review of Public Administration. Forthcoming.
  7. Shields, Patricia M. (2010) "Jane Addams Theory of Democracy and Social Ethics: Incorporating a Feminist Perspective" in Women in Public Administration: Theory and Practice. edited by Maria D’Agostiono and Helisse Levine. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. pp. 15–34.
  8. Shields, Patricia M. and Nandhini Rangarajan. (2011) Public Service Professionals: The Legacy of Florence Nightingale, Mary Livermore and Jane Addams. In The State of Public Administration: Issues, Challenges and Opportunity. Edited by Donald Menzel and Harvey White. New York: M. E. Sharpe.
  9. Shields, Patricia (2006) "Democracy and the Social Ethics of Jane Addams: A Vision for Public Administration." Administrative Theory and Praxis. Vol. 28, No.3 pp. 418–443. Washington, DC.
  10. Shields, Patricia M. (2005) "Classical Pragmatism: Roots and Promise for a PA Feminist Theory." Administrative Theory and Praxis27(2):370-376.
  11. - website accessed 5/24/11
  12. Shields, Patricia M. 1998. "Pragmatism as a Philosophy of Science: A Tool for Public Administration." Research in Public Administration Vol. 4 pp.195-225.
  13. Shields, Patricia and Hassan Tajalli. 2006. "Intermediate Theory: The Missing Link in Successful Student Scholarship." Journal of Public Affairs Education Vol. 12. No. 3.
  14. Shields, Patricia and Nandhini Rangarajan. 2013. A Playbook for Research Methods: Integrating Conceptual frameworks and Project Management. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press
  15. Website accessed July 12, 2014
  16. - website accessed 5/31/11
  17. - website accessed 5/31/11
  18. website accessed 5/18/11