American Political Scientists: A Dictionary

American Political Scientists: A Dictionary

American Political Scientists: A Dictionary

American Political Scientists: A Dictionary

Synopsis

This dictionary offers the only comprehensive collection of profiles of American political scientists, each of whom contributed significantly to the intellectual development of American political science from its beginnings in the late-19th century to the present. This second edition includes 22 new and 110 revised entries, reflecting new scholarship that emerged during the 1990s.

Excerpt

The one thing that is least often discussed—political science as a profession—is what many of us want most to know about. and what better way than consulting these capsule careers.

Of course, not everyone will be happy with everything that has to be left out. There is so much more to all of us than can be included here. Think of the early papers, alas unacknowledged, that proved predictive about the state of the world or that led to new developments in the study of politics. Think of the devastating critique of conventional wisdom, now lost from view, though its insights inform contemporary discourse. Think of the neglected classic, if only our colleagues would recognize it. Then there are also those important personal encounters in which suggestions were dropped that led to momentous developments unfortunately left unrecorded. Last but not least are the unacknowledged gems that would put the author’s subject at the center of the profession.

Actually, there is no pretense of summing up a person’s whole life but only of presenting what informed observers think are a particular political scientist’s most important contributions. No doubt true justice is not for this world. Nelson Polsby told me the story of the aged and distinguished rabbi who, upon retirement, was feted day and night. Upon the end of the celebration, a youngster asked the rabbi whether he felt he had received sufficient praise. “Yes,” the rabbi replied, “but about my modesty they said nothing.”

This collection of people and their contributions can be read for fun and profit. the fun comes from reading about political scientists in the past whose names are now barely mentioned, like Charles Merriam, who helped shape political science. One hears echoes of later developments, such as rational choice theory and functional explanation, in earlier authors. Much that we think of as utterly modern, such as social construction, interpretivism, and psychohistory, find earlier incarnation. Fun-loving political scientists will find their quota of exotic lore with which to tantalize and trip up their innocent colleagues. Those who espe-

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