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Introduction to Research Methods – Lecture 1. The history of the discipline of political science and international relations. Why intellectual history matters (1). A disciplinary identity, its boundaries are shaped by its history It legitimises some approaches and makes others marginal

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introduction to research methods lecture 1

Introduction to Research Methods – Lecture 1

The history of the discipline of political science and international relations

why intellectual history matters 1
Why intellectual history matters (1)
  • A disciplinary identity, its boundaries are shaped by its history
  • It legitimises some approaches and makes others marginal
  • Generates a sense of purpose and belonging
why intellectual history matters 2
Why intellectual history matters (2)
  • Contemporary American political science is relatively uninterested in the concept of the state which is a central one in Europe
  • This in part reflects different modes of governing
  • But early American political science was shaped by a notion of the state derived from German ethical traditions
  • It was supplanted by a ‘protobehavioural revolution’
where top departments are not
Where top departments are not
  • Asia
  • The Pacific
  • The Arabic world
  • Latin America
  • Almost completely absent from E-Central Europe and Russia
  • EU countries increasingly teach in English
top ten in world
Top ten in world
  • 1. Columbia (East coast)
  • 2. Harvard (East coast)
  • 3. Stanford (California)
  • 4. Ohio State
  • 5 EUI, Firenze
  • 6. UC, San Diego (California)
  • 7. UC, Irvine (California)
  • 8. Indiana
  • 9. Princeton (East coast)
  • 10. Yale (East coast)
  • 20,495 political scientists in US
  • 10,386 are academics
  • One third are women
  • 6 per cent African American, 4 per cent Asian American, 3 per cent Latino
  • .3% are American Indian or Alaskan Native (1.4% of US population)
early origins in us
Early origins in US
  • 1880: School of Political Science at Columbia University in NY established by John Burgess
  • John Hopkins, Baltimore
  • 1903: American Political Science Association founded
  • Woodrow Wilson is early president, becomes President of USA
driving forces
Driving forces
  • Expansion of undergraduate population from 54,300 in 1870 to 597,200 in 1920 creates a demand for new courses
  • Dominant subject of theology in old colleges challenged by science, e.g., Darwinism
  • Progressive movement, urban reform movement of middle class
driving forces 2
Driving forces (2)
  • Need to socialise wave of immigrants in US in last quarter of 19th century into democracy. Civics in schools.
  • Strong German influences on development of subject in US, reinforced in inter-war period by refugees from Nazis
  • Cannot take law as a first degree in the USA
interwar period chicago school dominates
Interwar period: Chicago school dominates
  • Turn away from state, need to realise political realities of social heterogeneity
  • Protobehavioural revolution reacting against formal, legal and historical methods of inquiry of 19th century using new methods of inquiry
  • Times were not auspicious for a scientific revolution
behavioural revolution of 1950s 60s
Behavioural revolution of 1950s/60s
  • Times were right – nuclear physics, space exploration, Cold War competition with Soviet Union, Second World War advances in survey techniques
  • Aspiration to make political science a ‘normal’ science, free of value judgements
  • Political reality existed and could be understood through the objective techniques of scientific inquiry (psychology as model)
main tenets of behaviouralism
Main tenets of behaviouralism
  • Sought to discover uniformities in political behaviour by systematically collecting and recording data in a manner that encouraged replication
  • Quantification became important – and remains so
  • Political science has no concern with moral questions, or at least should keep them separate
why behaviouralism failed
Why behaviouralism failed
  • Pointed out that not observing behaviour but reports of people’s behaviour
  • Difficult to come up with useful generalisations as so much behaviour is contingent or represents adaptation – model of natural science flawed
  • Vietnam War, crisis in US institutions, accusations of conservatism, Caucus for New Political Science (1967), Easton calls for post-behaviouralism (1969)
legacies of behaviouralism
Legacies of behaviouralism
  • Study of politics should be theory oriented
  • Should be self-conscious about methodology
  • Should be interdisciplinary
  • Strong desire for methodological rigour remained – rational choice (versus historical institutionalists)
perestroika movement 2000
Perestroika movement (2000)
  • Respect for political theory and comparative politics, concern that political science in US was too narrowly behavioural and quantitative – united by opposition to monopoly claim of scientific approach
  • Consider that behaviouralists and rat choice people think that only they are doing hard science and that everything else is dated
perestroika 2
Perestroika (2)
  • Argue that some scholars claim that rational choice institutionalism should be basis of all analysis
  • Questions about engagement with politics and policy makers, practice of politics
  • ‘English school’ in international relations has favoured normative enquiry
british political science
British political science
  • In 19th century Benthamite advocates of a deductive (theory led) approach and a science of legislation lost out to advocates of an inductive approach based on history
  • LSE set up to teach colonial administrators, included many reformers prominent in the Labour Party, public intellectuals
  • Modern Greats established in 1923, part of a humane tradition that emphasised classics, literature and history
  • ‘The subject is taught by a very few specialists and a large number of philosophers and historians who approach it with varying degrees of enthusiasm or distrust’
  • As late as 1966 40% of teachers of politics in universities in Britain had taken history as first degree
post second world war
Post-Second World War
  • Political Studies Association formed in 1950
  • Emergence of Manchester department headed by W J M Mackenzie (eclecticist), but made politics more social scientific
  • Prevalence of Whig interpretation of history, at worst nostalgia for political order before 1st World War
  • Mixture of moral philosophy (Oxford) and constitutional history (Cambridge)
things start to change
Things start to change
  • Colonial constitutions fail
  • Britain is gripped after 1960 (the year of the Brighton Revolution) by a sense of relative decline and the failure of its institutions
  • University expansion expands political science especially in plateglass universities
  • Technocratic reformism
wilfrid harrison
Wilfrid Harrison
  • First editor of Political Studies
  • Taught at Oxford, civil service in war, then Liverpool
  • Founded Warwick department
  • Strong believer in tolerant eclecticism and no dominant paradigm
sceptical professionalism
Sceptical professionalism
  • Technocratic reformism comes to an end in mid to late 1970s
  • 1980s a difficult decade for UK universities and political science
  • 1992 sees new universities, subject continues to expand
  • Formation of European Consortium for Political Research in 1970
political science in europe
Political science in Europe
  • Public law tradition predominates in some countries, e.g., France, Italy
  • Subject stunted in countries that were dictatorships, e.g., Greece, Spain
  • Particularly strong in Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark) also NL, Germany
political science in latin america
Political science in Latin America
  • Severely disrupted by authoritarian periods in Argentina, Brazil, Chile
  • Influence of FLACSO, founded by Unesco in 1957
  • Influence of Catholic thought: St. Thomas Moore Dept. of Politics
  • Importance of sociology
  • Intrusions of partisan politics
dominance of us political science
Dominance of US political science
  • Neglect of state
  • Often very inward looking, state level studies
  • Does a lot of work on EU, but model implicitly a US federal one
  • APSA is first loyalty for many British political scientists, 7,000 at annual convention
future developments
Future developments
  • European wide association following Bologna reforms
  • Recognition of complementary nature of quantitative and qualitative techniques
  • More emphasis on interdisciplinarity
  • Increasing internationalisation