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Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics

Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics


Ian Shapiro, Rogers M. Smith, Anne Norton, Frances Fox Piven, Adolph Reed, John Ferejohn, Gary W. Cox, Alan Ryan, Margaret Levi, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green, Edward H. Kaplan, Lisa Wedeen, Rudra Sil, William E. Connolly, Elisabeth Ellis, Truman Bewley, Robert A. Dahl, John Mearsheimer, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph
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  • Date Published: September 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521539432

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About the Authors
  • The study of politics seems endlessly beset by debates about method. At the core of these debates is a single unifying concern: should political scientists view themselves primarily as scientists, developing ever more sophisticated tools and studying only those phenomena to which such tools may fruitfully be applied? Or should they instead try to illuminate the large, complicated, untidy problems thrown up in the world, even if the chance to offer definitive explanations is low? Is there necessarily a tension between these two endeavours? Are some domains of political inquiry more amenable to the building up of reliable, scientific knowledge than others, and if so, how should we deploy our efforts? In this book, some of the world's most prominent students of politics offer original discussions of these pressing questions, eschewing narrow methodological diatribes to explore what political science is and how political scientists should aspire to do their work.

    • The world's leading scholars give their views on what politics is and how it should be studied
    • Can be used in classes on research methods and philosophy of social science
    • Will appeal outside political science, to other social scientists and philosophers
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    '… a positive contribution to this ongoing debate.' Political Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521539432
    • length: 432 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: problems and methods in the study of politics Ian Shapiro, Rogers Smith and Tarek Masoud
    Part I. Description, Explanation and Agency:
    2. Problems, methods and theories in the study of politics, or: what's wrong with political science and what to do about it Ian Shapiro
    3. Of problems and methods: identities, interests, and the tasks of political science in the 21st century Rogers M. Smith
    4. Political science as a vocation Anne Norton
    5. The politics of policy science Frances Fox Piven
    6. The study of black politics and the practice of black politics: their historical relation and evolution Adolph Reed
    7. External and internal explanation John Ferejohn
    Part II. Redeeming Rational Choice Theory?:
    8. Lies, damned lies and rational choice analyses Gary W. Cox
    9. On problems and methods Alan Ryan
    10. An analytic narrative approach to puzzles and problems Margaret Levi
    11. The methodical study of politics Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
    Part III. Possibilities for Pluralism and Convergence:
    12. The illusion of learning from observational research Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green and Edward H. Kaplan
    13. Concepts and commitments in the study of democracy Lisa Wedeen
    14. Problems chasing methods or methods chasing problems, research communities, constrained pluralism, and the role of eclecticism Rudra Sil
    15. Method, problem, faith William E. Connolly
    16. Provisionalism in the study of politics Elisabeth Ellis
    17. What have we learned? Robert Dahl, Truman Bewley, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph and John Mearsheimer.

  • Editors

    Ian Shapiro, Yale University, Connecticut
    Ian Shapiro is William R. Kenan, Jr Professor and Chair of Political Science at Yale University. His many books include The State of Democratic Theory, The Moral Foundations of Politics, Democratic Justice, and (with Donald Green) Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory.

    Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania
    Rogers M. Smith is the Christopher H. Browne distinguished Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His previous books include Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History, Liberalism and American Constitutional Law, and Stories of Peoplehood: The Politics and Morals of Political Membership.

    Tarek E. Masoud, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
    Tarek Masoud is an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. His current research focuses on the politics of religion in the Islamic world, particularly the ways in which Islamist parties shape - and are shaped by - their political environments. He is the co-editor of Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2004), and Order, Conflict, and Violence (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He is the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation. He is a graduate of Brown and Yale Universities.


    Ian Shapiro, Rogers M. Smith, Anne Norton, Frances Fox Piven, Adolph Reed, John Ferejohn, Gary W. Cox, Alan Ryan, Margaret Levi, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green, Edward H. Kaplan, Lisa Wedeen, Rudra Sil, William E. Connolly, Elisabeth Ellis, Truman Bewley, Robert A. Dahl, John Mearsheimer, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph

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