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.
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(228mm x 152mm x 24mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Ian Shapiro
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 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 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.