L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



David John Farmer

David John Farmer

Professor emeritus

Email: dfarmer@vcu.edu


  • Governance, theory and practice


Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Virginia
Ph. D. in Economics, University of London
M.A. in Philosophy, University of Virginia 
M.A. in Economics, University of Toronto 
B.Sc. in Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London 
Post-Doctoral Studies in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, University of Michigan

Language and other coursework at Sorbonne, University of Paris; Centro Linguistico Italiano Dante Alighieri Scuola Per Stranieri and at Universidad Complutense de Madrid


Seminar in public policy and administration, politics and economics, public administration theory, history of modern, ancient and medieval political thought

Research Interests

Governance, theory and practice


Prior to joining VCU in 1980, Dr. Farmer served as a budget analyst, an administrative analyst and an economist. He also served as director of operations management, special assistant to the New York City police commissioner and as a division director for the National Institute of Justice in the U.S. Department of Justice. During his tenure at VCU, he has served as chair of the Department of Justice and Risk Administration, professor of public administration and political science and affiliate professor of philosophy. In 1999, he received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Farmer serves as a member of the editorial boards of Administration and Society, Public Voices, Administrative Theory and Praxis, and Employee Responsibilities and Rights. He also serves as a reviewer for Public Administration Review and other journals. Farmer has been a community service associate for Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and a member of the community boards of Human Resources Incorporated and Jump Street drug and rehabilitation programs. He has also provided management consulting services to 40 state and local governments, including the states of Illinois and Pennsylvania and the cities of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Durham and Oklahoma City. Consulting specialties include management, organization, personnel, revenue administration, data processing and performance measurement.


Distinguished Scholar Award, VCU College of Humanities and Science, 1999.

Selected Publication Books

Farmer, David John (2020). Beyond Public Administration: Contemplating and Nudging Government-in-Context. London and New York: Routledge.
Farmer, David John (2021). Post-Traditional Public Administration Theory: For Better Governmental Praxis.  London and New York: Routledge.

Public Administration in Perspective: Theory and Practice through Multiple Lenses, Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2010.
To Kill the King: Post-traditional Governance and Bureaucracy. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2005.
The Language of Public Administration: Bureaucracy, Modernity and Postmodernity, Tuscaloosa: Alabama: University of Alabama, 1995. (Translated into Korean, 1999; translated into Chinese, 2006)
Being in Time: The Nature of Time in Light of McTaggart's Paradox. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America: Lanham, Maryland, 1990.
Crime Control: The Use and Misuse of Police Resources. New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation, 1984. 
Civil Disorder Control. Chicago, Illinois: Public Administration Service, 1968.
As editor, Papers on the Art of Anti-Administration, Burke, Virginia: Chatelaine Press, 1998.

Book Chapters and Articles
In the period from 1982 to 2012, Farmer has authored some 80 significant chapters and journal articles. Please refer to his personal website for a complete list of publications.