Political Science: The State of the Discipline II

By Ada W. Finifter | Go to book overview

understanding the role of business groups, professional groups (say life scientists working on the greenhouse effect), the Catholic Church (in Poland), and the influence of social groups working on their own Ostpolitik in the former Federal Republic of Germany -- except to the extent that these groups operate through the state.

Realism's fear seems to be that, if examined, domestic politics will prove to be a Pandora's box of country-specific parameters. This fear seems exaggerated. Domestic politics, and its implications for global political economy, can be theorized, as the work of Rogowski ( 1989), Putnam ( 1988), Katzenstein ( 1978, 1985), Goldstein ( 1988), Frieden ( 1991), and Lake ( 1991) shows.

Marxian global political economy starts on a promising note. It is conceptually comprehensive, attempting to bring together political institutions, social forces, and ideas. At present, however, little systematic theory exists in testable form. Instead, the theory is applied illustratively to various global situations. While Marxism has historical roots, the modern Gramscian approach is very new and the group of scholars working in the tradition very limited.

Modern Marxian political economy has departed from the classical project in two quite distinct directions. The Gramscian turn, exemplified by Cox, Gill, Rupert, and Augelli and Murphy, abandons the development of the forces of production as the (single) engine of change and places ideas on an analytically coequal plane with material forces and state institutions. Rational choice Marxism abandons the project of deducing capital expansion from the laws of motion of capitalism in favor of collective action problems inherent in class conditions. While these foci are valuable (both capitalists and workers confront social dilemmas), analytical Marxism is limited by not having a theory of capitalist development. What was attractive about Marxism is that it said something about the time path of capitalism and the transformation of interests along this path. One does not need to believe in the iron laws of increasing organic composition of capital and falling rate of profit to argue for attention to the historical dimension of capitalism.

In my opinion, Gramscian approaches could be refreshed and sharpened by contact with the more classical strains of Marxism. Forces of production have broadened into a less definable "material interests," and production relations have either disappeared or have been absorbed by "social forces." Perhaps regulation theory has furthered the older notion of relations of production (see Noel 1987). In any case, the Gramscian approach would do well to rethink the role of this important concept.

The Gramscian approaches reviewed here have been organized around the interplay of material interests, state forms, and ideas. This is not the only way to go. Mark Rupert project ( 1990b) is to understand (historically) the construction of international civil society. His focus is not directly on states-markets and power-wealth. Instead, he first wants to understand how an international space for "private" capital was created, how labor and capital came to confront one another as juridically free agents within international civil society. Domination has to do not so much with states over states or states over non-state actors, as with global capital over labor. For Rupert, global political economy involves tasks that are radically different from realists and liberals.

There are other directions in which Marxian global political economy might go. If Marxism is concerned with competitive capital accumulation, we can ask about the consequences of accumulation processes at the global level. Few countries have anything remotely resembling closed economies. Almost all "national" economies must insert themselves into the global economy to complete their cycles of accumulation. Some "tie-ins" are for markets, some for physical capital, some for financial capital, and others for labor (skilled or unskilled), and knowledge. Most of these global links do not involve arms-length transactions, although some do more than others. Taking these economic connections seriously will involve understanding better the political forces associated with economic integration, a project central to dependency theory.

Ten years ago it might have been debated whether global political economy was fad or field. The concerns that have dominated research have proved to be durable. Significant research accomplishments have been made in numerous areas, among them institutions, cooperation, public goods theory, strategic trade, and hegemony. Still, significant gaps remain which are not just due to finite resources. Hopefully, this essay has conveyed a sense of progress as well as pointed to some areas where future work is sorely needed.


I would like to acknowledge the research assistance of Richard Sherman in preparing this chapter. His papers, one of which is cited in the references, provided valuable suggestions in carrying out my research. I also gratefully recognize the support of the Virginia and Prentice Bloedel Chair of Political Science.

Various drafts of this paper have benefitted from the comments of Hayward R. Alker, Jr., Robert O. Keohane, David Lake, Lisa Martin, Richard Sherman, David Spiro, Janice Thomson, and Alexander Wendt. Special appreciation is due to Stephen D. Krasner and an anonymous referee. I did not satisfy all readers and must accept responsibility for the final product.


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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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