Dubnick (political science, U. of New Hampshire) and Frederickson (public administration, U. of Kansas) present 18 papers from an April 2008 symposium at the Kettering Foundation bringing together researchers engaged in the study of accountability in governance. Based on the assumption that the systematic study of accountability had not particularly advanced very far, no focused theme was chosen for the symposium, although a few themes became evident over the course of the proceedings. These include the distinction between the European approach to accountability as an instrumental value versus the American approach to it as a virtue, the existence of multiple accountabilities in almost every area of governance, and a general lack of attention to accountability as an ethical or empirical condition (with only three of the contributions touching explicitly on the meaning of accountability) as opposed to the more prevalent focus on accountability mechanisms. The papers have been organized into sections on complex challenges of accountability, obstacles to accountability, assessing accountability, adapting to accountability, strategies of accountability, and rethinking accountability.
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