The American Science of Politics: Its Origins and Conditions

By Bernard Crick | Go to book overview

IX
THE DEMOCRATIC GOSPEL OF
RESEARCH

Another important trend, especially after 1900, has been that towards
synthesis. The border lines between the social disciplines began to
disappear. . . . Also, there has been a marked increase of emphasis
upon contemporaneous data. . . . In a static world tradition is per-
haps the best interpreter, but in a highly dynamic world, like ours,
contemporaneous facts and generalizations from them are necessary
to give perspective and to make clear our adjustment needs. Other
trends are towards practicality . . ., toward a growing emphasis upon
professionalization and the training of experts. . . . Finally there has
been a vast corresponding increase in investigation and publication,
especially in recent years. All of this indicates that the social disciplines
are now reaching that degree of maturity which will permit them to be
characterized as sciences, and in their professionalized aspects as
applied sciences.
L. L. BERNARD in the Encyclopaedia of' the Social Sciences
Mit gier'ger Hand nach Schätzen gräbt,
Und froh ist, wenn er Regenwürmer findet.

GOETHE, Faust


1. The Ideal of Research

'RARE INDEED', Professor Hans Morgenthau has written, 'is the social scientist who will say, as Bernard Glueck did . . . with regard to the problem of alcoholism: "It is difficult not to be somewhat amused by this general tendency to put all faith in more research as the solution."'1 Merriam was far from alone in this faith. Indeed, by the end of the 'twenties, political science was under some compulsion to show that it could be as scientific, as researchconscious, as sociology or as a 'unified social science' would be. It did not abandon its old goals of citizenship education (or training); it merely reinterpreted them as the fruits of research.

____________________
1
Morgenthau, Scientific Matt and Power Politics ( Chicago; 1946), pp. 34-5.

-156-

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