In the December 1988 issue of this Review, John Dryzek and Stephen Leonard argued the need for "context-sensitive" histories of the discipline of political science. In their view, disciplinary history must guide practical inquiry if it is to be most useful. The course of their argument draws the criticisms of three political scientists concerned about the history of political science—James Farr, John Gunnell, and Raymond Seidelman. Dryzek and Leonard respond to their critics and underscore their own rationale for enhanced interest in the history of the discipline.
In this address, I argue that the organizational and ideational evolution of political science is closely interconnected with Canada's history and unequal social relations since Confederation. This is because organized political science in Canada was really at heart a national venture. As a consequence, in order to understand the ideas animating early political scientists we have to consider Canada's foundational status as a settler colony in the North American space, with a privileged place in the British Empire. This perspective may also help to highlight the distinct features of the colonial present which are giving rise to multiple sites of knowledge production-or multiple knowledges.
This book chapter is under embargo until eighteen months after publication. ; In a book called Free Speech for Radicals, Herber Newton, a heretical priest active in New York in the late nineteenth century, claimed that 'Anarchism is in reality the ideal of political and social science, and also the idea of religion' (in Schroeder 1916: 14). Newton's assertion, that anarchism is fundamentally religious, is deeply contested but from a twenty-first century perspective his coupling of anarchism and political science is also striking. Even accepting that the link he makes between these two terms is mediated by the reference to an ideal, hinting at a utopian aspiration that many anarchists would embrace, the conjunction jars. This chapter considers some reasons why, looking within both at conceptions of political science adopted in American and British academia in the course of the twentieth century and at anarchist literatures. The discussion considers how debates about the relationship between the analysis of politics and the legitimation of established power relations contextualize anarchist engagements with political science, how differences about the scope, application and character of scientific method have complicated this engagement and how overlaps between these two currents of argument help explain some very different anarchist approaches to the field. My argument is that Newton's view is a productive one, from which anarchists have much to gain. And the final section of the chapter examines some examples of anarchist political science, drawing on the work of C. Wright Mills and Peter Kropotkin.
The declination of the "state" and the origins of American pluralism / John G. Gunnell -- An ambivalent alliance : political science and American democracy / Terence Ball -- The pedagogical purposes of a political science / Stephen T. Leonard -- "Public opinion" in modern political science / J.A.W. Gunn -- Disciplining Darwin : biology in the history of political science / John S. Dryzek and David Schlosberg -- Race and political science : the dual traditions of race relations politics and African-American politics / Hanes Walton Jr., Cheryl M. Miller, and Joseph P. McCormick II -- Realism and the academic study of international relations / Jack Donnelly -- Remembering the revolution : behavioralism in American political science / James Farr -- Policy analysis and public life : the restoration of phron#sis? / Douglas Torgerson -- The development of the spatial theory of elections / John Ferejohn -- Studying institutions : some lessons from the rational choice approach / Kenneth A. Shepsle -- Order and time in institutional study : a brief for the historical approach / Karen Orren and Stephen Skowronek
Once sparce and sporadic, histories of political science have proliferated in recent years. We contend that such histories are a necessary feature of the discourse of political science, because there are essential connections between the history, identity, and actual practices of any rationally progressive discipline. In light of the fact that the objects political scientists study are historically and contextually contingent, there has been—and should be—a plurality of histories to match the diversity of approaches in politicalscience. Unfortunately, most histories of political science prove either "Whiggish" and condescending toward the past, or "skeptical" and negative. The consequence has been an inadequate understanding of the relationship between plurality, rationality, and progress in the discipline. Taking into account both the deficiencies and achievements of Whiggish and skeptical accounts, we argue that context-sensitive histories would better serve the rationality and progress of political science.