The 24th Annual AAPAE Conference will be hosted by the Institute for Public Policy and Governance University of Technology Sydney (UTS: IPPG).
Many traditions of ethical and political writing have defended the concept of the state as the legitimate site of authority and as a key stakeholder in shaping professional codes, governance values and institutional ethics. Yet this superiority has been increasingly contested. For instance, the concept of ‘government failure’ writ large has questioned the ethical superiority of government and its officers.
This has been joined by arguments that non-state organisations (private corporations), quasi-state bodies (statutory authorities) and professional organisations have the capacity to self-regulate through mechanisms such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), codes of professional practice and indeed the sheer virtue of the individuals comprising these organisations.
Yet paradoxically the failure of minimal regulation (the Global Financial Crisis, for example), alongside the apparent effectiveness of the strong state in developmental contexts, have both served as evidence that the state ought to be defended as a distinct source of authority, morality and ethical practice. At the same time liberal political theory has consistently argued that the authority of the state ought to be formally or constitutionally disaggregated.
Frequently these arguments are debated in structural and empirical terms. Yet conceived as a series of ethical practices labelled ‘professional’ or otherwise, questions about the source of authority, in liberal and other societies, form an unspoken backdrop to much of the work of organisations and the people that comprise them.
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