The Development of Political Science: A Comparative Survey

The Development of Political Science: A Comparative Survey

The Development of Political Science: A Comparative Survey

The Development of Political Science: A Comparative Survey

Synopsis

In recent years the history of political science has become recognised as an important but neglected area of study. The Development of Political Science is the first comprehensive discussion of the subject in a comparative international perspective. Offering a wide-ranging account of the development of the subject and its dissemination across national borders and cultural divides, the book begins with a study of the historiography of the discipline in the United States, a country which has been at the forefront of the field. Widening its discussion to emphasise Western Europe as a focus for comparison, the contributors provide studies of further areas of interest such as China and Africa. This particular approach emphasises the book's vision of political science as a growing transnational body of knowledge. In presenting critical analysis of the state of the field, this vigorous study aims to further the development of the discipline in the countries discussed, and to provide a work that is interesting not only to political scientists, but to all those concerned with the development of the social sciences.

Excerpt

In 1985 the Finnish Political Science Association, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, in collaboration with the International Political Science Association, sponsored a symposium in Helsinki on The Development and Institutionalization of Political Science: Centre-Periphery Relations and Other Crucial Concepts. Twenty-one papers were presented dealing with the history of political science within various countries as well as disciplinary relations between different countries. A selection of revised papers from that meeting was published in Political Science Between Past and Future (1988), edited by Dag Anckar and Erkki Berndtson, and several additional papers were published in the January 1987 issue of the International Political Science Review.

During the Helsinki conference, on the initiative of David Easton and John Trent, a committee was formed for the purpose of facilitating a more systematic and continuing historical and comparative study of the discipline and profession of political science. In 1988, this committee, designated as the International Committee for the Study of the Development of Political Science (ICSDPS), became a permanent subcommittee of the International Political Science Association’s Research Committee for the Study of the Discipline of Political Science. The original research programme of the ICSDPS called, first, for a comparative examination of the history of political science and, second, for an assessment of the extent to which political science had produced a body of political knowledge that transcended regional and national fields. In order to follow through on the work commenced at the Helsinki conference and to encourage additional specific-country studies of the evolution of political science, the first international conference of the ICSDPS was held in Cortona, Italy in September of 1987.

The conference, organized by David Easton and Luigi Graziano, was sponsored by the Centre of Political Science at the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli and by the Citta di Cortona. Thirteen papers were presented. Most of the papers focused on the evolution of political science in a specific country, but some papers also addressed methodological issues in the historiography of political and social science. Eight of the twelve chapters in this volume are revised versions of presentations from the Cortona conference while three

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