A New Handbook of Political Science

By Robert E. Goodin; Hans-Dieter Klingemann | Go to book overview

Chapter 11

Political Behavior, Old and New

Warren E. Miller


I The excitement of new worlds to conquer

A historical review of political behavior in the United States should really encompass at least three epochs, the new, the old and the very old. As a member of the research community for almost fifty years, it seems appropriate for me to comment briefly on the old and the new, but I will leave the tracing of the longer lines of intellectual origin to the sociologists of knowledge and the philosophers of science. If one, therefore, bypasses the early work of Stuart Rice ( 1928), Samuel P. Hayes, Jr. ( 1932), or better known figures such as Merriam and Gosnell ( 1924), the era of the "Old" must be introduced with Lazarsfeld and Berelson. The Huckfeldt-Carmines chapter (above: chap. 8) provides a good statement on their work, as well as that of our role model in political science, V. O. Key, Jr. The only major omission from their review of the literature are the contributions provided by Stein Rokkan, including his well-known collaboration with Lipset. Rokkan, along with Lazarsfeld, saw politics and mass political behavior as manifestations of social structure and social experience. Against that Old World backdrop, the introduction of a micro-analytic social psychological perspective was more dramatic than many retrospective accounts reveal.

For many of us in the next generation, the world of political behavior was introduced in 1952 with the first national election study carried out by the Political Behavior Program of the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center. The 1952 study did not spring full-blown from imaginative minds (or deep pockets) at the University of Michigan. Under the leadership of Pendelton Herring, then President of the Social Science Research Council, the Council Committee on Political Behavior had been formed in

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