Political Science: The State of the Discipline II

By Ada W. Finifter | Go to book overview

identification among the various American Indian peoples. Ideological differences are also in evidence. African Americans are difficult to pinpoint ideologically because they may be liberal on government involvement in certain areas but conservative on some social issues. Mexican Americans are just as likely to be moderate as conservative, while Cubans are conservative on foreign policy issues but somewhat liberal on some social issues. Asian Americans are more conservative on economic issues but liberal on many social issues. Consequently, it should be recognized that generalizations developed from the study of urban African Americans should not be expected to hold for southwestern Mexican Americans. Moreover, it should not be assumed that a scholar whose specialty is black politics is automatically an authority on Latino politics, or vice versa.

The first edition of this book, published in 1983, did not contain a chapter on racial minority group politics. Our task for this edition, therefore, necessitated the reconstruction of the history as well as a delineation of current themes and directions prevailing in each field. Projecting into the future, what would we expect this chapter to contain and how would it be structured in the third edition?

First, we anticipate that the developments in each field, particularly black and Latino politics, will require separate chapters, clearly signifying their acceptance by the discipline. Second, some of the questions currently plaguing the fields will have been resolved, but in keeping with the dynamism of the areas, new ones will have surfaced. For instance, scholars in black politics will once again seriously question the appropriateness of traditional political science explanations for the political attitudes and behaviors of African Americans. Latino politics will no longer suffer from lingering concerns about legitimacy, and inter-group political differences will be more sharply focused. Many more scholars will focus on the politics of American Indian peoples but, heeding the mistakes made by anthropologists, will approach the subject from frameworks that account for the uniqueness of the situation of Indian peoples in the United States. In addition, the "model minority" paradigm in Asian- American politics will have gone the way of the ethnic politics approach in black politics.

Finally, and most importantly, the chapters in the third edition will, we hope, no longer talk about the small numbers of minority political scientists in political science generally and the even smaller number writing in the various areas specifically. For it is our hope that the numbers of black, Latino, American Indian, and Asian- American political scientists, expecially females, will increase as the discipline's recognition and commitment to the study of the politics of America's racial minority groups grow.


We would like to thank Steven Tauber, research assistant in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, for his invaluable assistance in locating much of the research referenced in this chapter.

There is debate over whether the concept of "minority" politics is a theoretically useful category for conceptualizing and organizing the political experiences of all non-white groups in the United States. We acknowledge this controversy, but do not intend to enter the debate in this chapter, which would require more time and space than has been allocated.
It should be noted that Bunche was the first black American male to receive a Ph.D. in political science. The first black American female was Jewel Limar Prestage, who received her Ph.D. in 1954 from the University of Iowa.
We have purposely confined our discussion of black and Latino politics to attitudes and behaviors related to the United States domestic political arena. While there is a modest literature on black and Latino participation in foreign policy, we decided not to include that dimension. Although one could argue that foreign policy issues should be a concern of the subfields, to date it has not been an overriding concern in either area.
In 1969, a preparatory conference was called at Southern University to discuss professional problems of black political scientists within the discipline, in general, and within the American Political Science Association, in particular, as well as to discuss the political science curricula at historically black colleges and universities ( Jones 1990)
Between Bunche's work and the Negro leadership studies of the 1960s, several of Bunche's students, principally Robert E. Martin, continued to research and publish in the emerging field of Negro politics. Martin conducted early empirical research on black voting in the Agricultural Adjustment Programs. Given the unreceptivity of political science journals to Negro politics, Martin's studies were published in other disciplinary journals ( Martin 1938, 1942, 1951, and 1953).
Popular knowledge among many Latino scholars contends that a reference to Douglas Week's article in the 1930s supposedly appeared in the American Political Science Review. Our search for this reference for the documentation of this chapter proved unsuccessful.
Latino politics, during this time period, is synonymous with Chicano politics.
If Avalos had included the Social Science Quarterly, especially since 1970, he would have noted the significant inclusion of articles on Mexican Americans. In many respects, the early development of Chicano politics emanated from an interdisciplinary perspective and many social science disciplines. Given the central mission of the Social Science Quarterly, there was a greater receptivity by this journal and its editor for submissions in this field.


Abramson, Paul R. 1972. "Political Efficacy and Political Trust Among Black School Children." Journal of Politics 34:1243-1275.

Abramson, Paul R. 1977. The Political Socialization of Black Americans: A Critical Evaluation of Research on Efficacy and Trust. New York: Free Press.

Acuna, R. 1981. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 2nd ed. New York: Harper and Row.


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Political Science: The State of the Discipline II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Theory and Method 1
  • 1: Texts and Canons: The Status of the "Great Books" in Political Theory 3
  • Conclusion 21
  • Notes 22
  • Bibliography 23
  • 2: Political Theory in the 1980s: Perplexity Amidst Diversity 27
  • Notes 43
  • Bibliography 43
  • Additional Bibliography 46
  • 3: Feminist Challenges to Political Science 55
  • Notes 72
  • Bibliography 73
  • 4: Formal Rational Choice Theory: A Cumulative Science of Politics 77
  • Concluding Comments 97
  • Notes 98
  • Bibliography 101
  • 5: The Comparative Method 105
  • Conclusion 116
  • Notes 117
  • Bibliography 117
  • 6: The State of Quantitative Political Methodology 121
  • Conclusion 148
  • Notes 148
  • Bibliography 150
  • Political Processes and Individual Political Behavior 161
  • 7: Comparative Political Parties: Research and Theory 163
  • Conclusion 183
  • Notes 184
  • Bibliography 185
  • 8: The Not So Simple Act of Voting 193
  • Notes 213
  • Bibliography 214
  • 9: The New Look in Public Opinion Research 219
  • Notes 240
  • Bibliography 240
  • 10: Expanding Disciplinary Boundaries 247
  • Conclusion 269
  • Notes 271
  • Bibliography 271
  • 11: Citizens, Contexts, and Politics 281
  • Conclusion: Putting the Puzzle Back Together 299
  • Bibliography 300
  • 12: Political Communication 305
  • Conclusions 323
  • Bibliography 324
  • Political Institutions of the State 333
  • 13: Legislatures: Individual Purpose and Institutional Performance 335
  • Conclusions: Behavior, Institutions, and Theory 354
  • Notes 357
  • Bibliography 357
  • 14: Public Law and Judicial Politics 365
  • 15: Political Executives and Their Officials 383
  • Conclusion 402
  • Bibliography 403
  • 16: Public Administration: The State of the Field 407
  • Notes 423
  • Bibliography 424
  • Nations and Their Relationships 429
  • 17: Comparative Politics 431
  • Conclusion 443
  • Notes 444
  • Bibliography 446
  • 18: Global Political Economy 451
  • Conclusion 474
  • Notes 476
  • Bibliography 477
  • Conclusions 483
  • Conclusions 503
  • Notes 504
  • Bibliography 505
  • Appendix 511
  • Contributors 513
  • Index of Cited Authors 517


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