Goals for Political Science

By American Political Science Association | Go to book overview

Chapter V. The Field of
Concentration

HAVING considered the achievements of political science in three concentration areas that are vital to every citizen, we are now ready to take a long look at our discipline to discover where it has come from, where it stands today in relation to its problems, and where it seems to be going. As one soon perceives when looking at the main papers presented at the annual meetings of the Association, much has happened to political science in the last twenty years. This was apparently inevitable if for no other reason than that the crises of war and depression have proved stern taskmasters for political scientists, skilled as they are in problems of power, institutional relationships, and processes of organization and management.

What is the field of political science? Is it a logical integration of related subject matter capable of being called a cohesive whole? How are its subdivisions, and the field as a whole, related to bordering social science disciplines? What is the tendency in political science--to form a more perfect union or to disintegrate? And how can the over-all effectiveness of the profession be improved in terms of better delimitation of the major and organization of the departmental curriculum?

Happily, the committee has a great many facts to go on, and this is fortunate in an area where individual preference and opinion are likely to diverge so markedly. On the whole, however, we have discovered a remarkably high degree of consensus as to what the major should consist of and what constitutes the hard core at the center. We propose, therefore, to deal in this chapter with the following questions: What is the scope of

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