Developments in Political Science:
Report on the IPSA Montreal Conference, May 2008

John E. Trent
Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa

Paper prepared for the Santiago, Chile, World Congress of the
International Political Science Association, July, 2009
Copyright, IPSA/John Trent


This document is a synthesis report on the papers presented at the 2008 Montreal Conference, the first inter-Congress conference organized by the International Political Science Association (IPSA). It brought together leaders of the IPSA Research Committees and national and regional associations to discuss the state of political science and its future perspectives. The IPSA Council and Secretariat saw the importance of interim conferences as a forum for debating issues concerning the future of the discipline.

Some 150 Participants from more than 30 countries representing 27 research committees and 23 political science associations gathered in Montreal from April 30 to May 2, 2008 to discuss “New Theoretical and Regional Perspectives in International Political Science”. According to the co-chairs, Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Rainer Eisfeld, the meeting provided an opportunity to review three ongoing IPSA activities: 1) the critical assessment of major sub-fields in our discipline, as reflected by the editors and associate editors of the forthcoming 8-volume IPSA Encyclopedia of Political Science (co-edited by Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Leonardo Morlino, to be published by SAGE); 2) the organizational review of the discipline, represented by political science associations from every region of the world, with an emphasis on creating new networks and fostering a better mutual understanding of pressing global concerns; and 3) the state of cutting edge research, as evidenced by the work of our research committees, whose representatives came together for the first time to discuss substantive issues.

All participants in the Montreal Conference presented papers in one of three categories: 1) the state of affairs and conflicting perspectives in the major sub-fields of the discipline; 2) the state of the discipline in major regions of the world; and 3) cutting-edge areas of research in political science as evidenced by IPSA Research Committees (RCs). There were a total of some 75 papers (see the Program and List of papers in the Bibliographies). This text is a synthesis of the papers in the three sections. It is important to retain the knowledge in such an assemblage of first hand accounts, so this report is, in part, a document of record.

However, the paper is organized around the model of the “development of the discipline” as elaborated by RC 33 on the Study of Political Science as a Discipline. For a decade now, RC 33 has been working on a process for evaluating and developing political science. Although we look at origins and current orientations and trends, this is not just another "state-of-the-art" exercise. By 'development' we mean analysis and explanation: analytic evaluation of the problems and advances of the various elements of the field including both its research output and infrastructure; explanation of why political science emerged the way it has.

In other words, we want to foster a self-conscious, systematic, and common perspective toward explaining variance in the discipline and to explaining the various degrees of advancement, indigenization, and universalization. We want to move toward 'causal' understanding of our strengths and weaknesses so we can seek areas and means for improvement as we strive after elusive political generalizations. To do this we focus social science methods on our own discipline, seeing it as a dependent variable for which we seek independent explanatory variables so that we can better analyze the present and make proposals for the future. It is through this prism that I will assemble and synthesize the papers of the Montreal Conference (see Trent 2008 a & b for details).

1) The state of affairs and conflicting perspectives in the major sub-fields of the discipline

This first section on major sub-fields of political science reports on five papers presented in Montreal along with several statements. The fields are epistemology and methodology, political theory, political sociology, governance and public policies, and international relations. These papers were not for reproduction as they were drafts for future articles to appear in the new IPSA Encyclopedia of Political Science. As the material is very dense it is really impossible to summarize. It also covers basic fields most of us know. So, in this section, I will restrict myself to synthesizing new perspectives and advances presented in these papers (generally the last two decades), along with their consideration of current issues.

1.1. Epistemology and Methodology, (Nathaniel Beck) By way of introduction, it is noted that political science is multidimensional combining object (structural), subject (perceptual) and normative (evaluative) elements. A holistic view is necessary. Epistemology should take these types and levels of approach into account. We also interact with our subject matter which creates problems for objective research. While it is not clear the degree to which epistemology and methodology are co-terminus, it is clear that the study and application of methodologies, especially quantitative ones, have made great leaps forward in recent years. This is confirmed by the country studies in Section 2 of this paper. According to Nathaniel Beck, huge numbers of people are interested in methodology and, in countries such as the United States and Germany, methodological in-house training is standard. In the American Political Science Association (APSA), the Methodology and the new Qualitative/Multi-methods Sections are the second and third largest. Its growth is confirmed by the Cambridge University Press’ series on Analytical Methods for Social Research and Oxford’s recent Handbook. Political science methodology has come a long way from the one, obligatory course on statistics.

The level of sophisticated quantitative analysis, Beck says, is “stunning” (p.4). Modern computing makes it relatively easy for anyone to do. There is also a “tremendous” improvement in interpretation using Bayesian methods and Rubin causal models. In econometrics there are interesting advances in dealing with complicated stochastic processes. New multilevel models allow researchers to get beyond assumptions of homogeneity by both assessing and modeling heterogeneity and by aggregating micro and macro analysis. There is also a tremendous interest in working out research design issues about identification strategies, instrumental variables, and causality in experiments and quasi-experiments. All this is supported by advances in norms and software for the collection, replication and sharing of large-N data sets. The latest move is in the greater acceptance of qualitative research and the need for the use of multi-methods. There appears to be agreement we are all doing “science” with the same logic and rules of evidence. Still it is difficult to figure out a way to integrate the qualitative and quantitative although Rihoux reports Europeans are working on innovative research designs such as experiments, mixed methods and nested analysis.

These advances are not without causing some issues, according to Beck. It may be that the sophisticated analysis is too far out in front of the discipline. He wonders if we are not spending too much effort on 2% improvements in measurements. Should we not pay more attention to where the meaningful gains in methodology are likely to come from? Computers can act as a two-bladed sword if they make it too easy for researchers to use methods they do not really understand and to sneak in assumptions about which they are not clear. Similarly there also seems to be too little understanding of the logic of statistical inference and null hypothesis testing. Quantitative researchers also have to stop assuming the homogeneity of their data. Again, if our econometrics has become more sophisticated, is it time “to get back to political science” (p. 7) as in attaining better coherence between theory and measures – for instance with regard to democracy? This is also true in the use of experiments. The big issue now is causality. Perhaps there is too much emphasis on maximizing the internal validity of our models at the expense of external validity and generalizability to the world of politics. Poteete said that comparative research is having troubles fostering more collaborative analysis and still mainly publishes small-N studies with limited comparative scope. Finally Calise drew attention to all the new communications technologies that require political science to think about how we become informed and how we disseminate information to others.

1.2. Political Theory (Takashi Inoguchi): Takashi Inoguchi starts by reminding us that if political theory is ambivalent about itself (history of political thought/empirical political theory), it is because its origin is unquestionably that of philosophy in ancient times (Greece, India, Arabia , China). It is the oldest social science discipline or, as Herbert Spiro called it, the “Queen of Social Sciences”. For modern political theory to be born, society had to pass through the separation of religion and politics and religion and science and then to arrive at freedom and democracy. We had first of all to be able to accept that God exists for those who believe it, which means the concept is imagined and there can be other sources of truth. Today we may say that the study of political theory comprises both classical political philosophy, empirical political theory and now formal political theory (logically or mathematically derived statements).

Classical political philosophy encompassed pre-scientific, pre-empirical statements about what justice should be, how it should be achieved and about how it should be conceptualized. Empirical political theory, as in voting and electoral systems studies and analysis of trust in institutions, seeks validation or falsification of facts that can be experienced or tested in our daily lives, facts that can be built into propositions capable of generating sets of higher level generalizations (theory). Leading examples of formal theory are Anthony Downs (1957) economic theory of democracy and Albert Hirshman’s (1970) model of exit, voice and loyalty to analyze the reaction of people to organizational decline.

“The dilemma of political theory is that the problems it deals with are always a mixture of the normative and the empirical or between the ‘ought’ and the ‘is’ (p.3)”. This is compounded by the recent tendency of overspecialization and hence the mutual isolation of the normative and the empirical which has gone too far, according to Inoguchi. He claims remedies are necessary. Inoguchi seeks to show that modern political theory is based on linkage between the classical and empirical approaches and that it is enriched and invigorated by a “conversation” between the two rather than their isolation from one another. Even formal theory also has empirical overtones. As examples of linkage he points to Machiavelli as a precursor of “realist” international theory. The classical Federalist Papers with their propositions favoring federalism over a unitary state had an affinity with William Riker’s (1972) Rochester school of positive political theory. Kant’s propositions about trade, republicanism and international institutions being the base of Eternal Peace have been reformulated in empirical theories of “liberal peace” and “democratic peace”.

Inoguchi provides two examples of the utility of a conversation between the classical and the empirical one being “warlike democracies” and the other “bottom up” regime typology. Both of them draw their propositions from classical political theories including those of Aristotle, Kant, Machiavelli, and Montesquieu. Kant found that republicanism is conducive to peace by being embedded with checks and balances; by international trade because it raises the costs of violence; and by multilateral agreements because they bind and bond. These ideas were articulated by Michael Doyle (1997) and empirically validated by Bruce Russett (1993). The democratic peace theory was then used by neo-cons such as Roger Scruton (2004) to justify “humanitarian intervention” with the claim that democracies are not only peace-loving among themselves but also justified in being war-prone toward anti-democracies. Max Boot (2003) and Robert Kagan (2007) argued that the use of force in settling conflicts is legitimated by democratic and human rights ideals. John Ferejohn and Frances Rosenbluth (2007) also tried to make sense of war-prone democracies by opposing Kant’s checks and balances theory to Machiavelli’s democratic mobilization theory in republics endowed with soldiers whose war-fighting motivation stemmed from the politically inclusive regime. But Alexis de Tocqueville had been very apprehensive about the danger of the military having its conduct legitimated by democracies, as was cited by Reiji Matsumoto (2007) in his analysis of U.S. engineered revenge in the wake of 9-11.

Classical theorists have often proposed that regimes determine the basis of politics. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics argued that in the three regime types: monarchy, aristocracy and politeia, the prevailing ethics determines the nature of the regime. Similarly, Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Law maintained that the driving spirit of the republican, monarchical and aristocratic regimes are the differing ethics of virtue, fear and honor. The same can be said of Max Weber and Stein Rokkan. Once the regime type is specified, the prevailing ethics of its citizens are also determined and vice versa. Jean Blondel and Takashi Inoguchi (2006) got the impression that not much has been said about the ‘bottom up’ impact of citizen attitudes on the formation of the regime. They hypothesized that feelings of identity, trust and satisfaction characterize they way citizen’s relate to the state. Using cross-national comparative data from the 18 country Asia-Europe Survey (2000), they were able to fill in the vacuum left unattended by classical scholars and point out a number of societal regime types based on the citizen political culture prevailing at the bottom. In further studies Inoguchi showed that citizen support for the government and the military is a key for explaining attenuated enthusiasm for democracy in some Asian countries – and hence vindicates the need for “conversations” between the classical normative and empirical political theories.

In the discussions which followed and the statements by Laurence Whitehead, Andrea Baumeister and Jane Curry, a number of the challenges affecting political theory were enumerated. We are in a situation of catching up with a changing world. New problems and realities keep forcing us to open up new boxes. Examples are globalization, enhanced social pluralism and the requirement for greater tolerance of difference, of co-existing with diversity. people’s revolutions and the greater relevance of civil society. It seems like everything has been transformed and political theory must keep in step. In a globalized world, how do we reconcile equality and universality, identity and new particularities? How do we get sacrifices for the common good in the building of new forms of solidarity? Theory will have to deal with the rediscovery of history and religion. Once again we must ask what universal and regional concepts are. Perhaps some functions are universal even if institutions are not. It seems there is a demand for stronger normative philosophy. The conundrum will be developing broad theory in a world of cultural and local differences and perhaps in situations where shared liberal values do not exist.

1.3 Political Sociology: Elite Theory (John Higley) It was Giovani Sartori who made sure we all understood that political sociology was not just about the social foundations of politics. Rather it is the mutual influence and interaction of society and politics. It has many traditional components including: elites and classes, state and society, democracy and social movements, institutions and civil society, culture and pluralism. It is the social bases of politics plus the actors who drive politics. Elites take a central place in political sociology as they arise from society to positions of power and then act upon society. John Higley in his presentation on Elite Theory in Political Sociology offers the definition, “Elites are persons who, by virtue of their strategic locations in large or otherwise pivotal organizations and movements, are able to affect political outcomes regularly and substantially (p.3)”. They are persons who are at the top of the pyramid or pyramids of political, economic or social power. Among the founders of elite theory, Gaetano Mosca emphasized that tiny minorities out-organize and outwit large majorities, usually because of a certain material, intellectual or even moral superiority. Vilfredo Pareto postulated that in actual societies elites are those who are adept at political rule by force or persuasion and usually enjoy inherited wealth and family connections. He reintroduced Machiavellli’s terms of lions and foxes to describe two alternating types of governing elites. Robert Michels specified that large organizations are bound to produce “oligarchies” of leaders and experts who control information and funding. Together these three set up a paradigm of inescapable and relatively autonomous elites that came to be known as the “futility thesis” (Femia 2001) because elites were seen to hamper aspirations for a fully democratic society..

Higley takes a fresh look at a considerable body of research on elites that shows, among other things, that elites arise from the fact that in large collectivities common interest is fairly minimal and must be supplemented by authoritative decisions. There can seldom be any firm consensus about the rightness of decisions so it requires decisions by strategically located persons whose concentration of power is usually surrounded by disproportionate privileges and protections. However, elite configurations vary according to political and social circumstances. For instance, three general types of elites relate to quite different types of societal stability and development. A relatively few stable countries have united elites which, at a less developed juncture in their history with less diversified interests and hence more autonomy from mass pressures, worked out an elite settlement that established mutual trust based upon agreed norms of restrained political competition and sharing of power (e.g. England’s ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688-89). These consensually united elites provide stability through rules which are not necessarily codified but are tacitly and widely understood to remove threats of serious danger from elite contests and provide to each sufficient access to decision-making. Another type of stability is furnished by ideologically united elites which are able to create a sort of stability behind the expression of a single ideology with a group of upper-most leaders having an apparatus of power that harmonizes public statements, defines orthodoxy and blocks the expression of divergent interests. More usually, in most countries, there are disunited elites characterized by personalized power, the support of organized coercive forces, unrestrained struggle between mutually distrustful elites to defend their interests, and resulting governance that oscillates between “dictatorial” and “democratic” poles. Today, their level of development makes unity more difficult because of public pressures from more diffused and ingrained interests. Even so, there may be elite convergence if some of the elites form a broad political coalition, acknowledge the value of elections, promise to accept their results, and govern in a way that is respectful of established institutions. Dissident and hostile elite camps eventually come to see they have no real alternative but to moderate their stance in order to compete effectively in elections (Japan, France, West Germany etc.).

Elite theorists believe that historical evidence indicates that, “Meaningful democratic institutions and practices depend upon the type of elite the society has. No type of elite is compatible with the full democratic ideal (p.8).” Only consensually united elites are reasonably compatible with the limited form of democracy in stable Western systems. Elites will tend to distort, partially suppress, confuse or “benignly neglect” potentially explosive democratic issues so as to moderate political tensions. Thus, elite theory teaches that a mature and experienced advocate of democracy must always settle for a political order that is considerably less than the ideal so as to avoid the dogmatic expression of interests that could lead to disastrous internal conflict. In other words, Joseph Schumpeter’s democratic elitism continues to hold sway in theory and reality with the increasing dominance of professional politicians and a personalized presidency in a “leader democracy with a strong plebiscitarian thrust”, where the “lions” have replaced the “foxes”.

So how do elites treat non-elite populations and link with them? Specifying the conditions of such a dynamic relationship is excessively difficult. It is possible to draw attention to some important changes. Leveling revolutions appear possible only in an early phase of development and even then they were exceedingly rare. “Normally in industrial societies the large number and political influence of non-manual bureaucratic and service workers, augmented by ambivalent artisans and ex-peasants, are sufficient to prevent strongly egalitarian mobilizations of declining manual workers… and the pervasiveness of non-manual bureaucratic and service workers in postindustrial societies virtually rules out the dramatic leveling and anti-leveling political changes of earlier periods (p.12). Today’s information and communications technologies greatly accelerate the conversion of workforces. Over time, these changes have blurred class lines and weakened customary partisan alignments, thus lowering elite recourse to ideologies. Elites adopted a more blatantly managerial style. But more recently, non-elite harmony and elite complacency diminished and there has been a growth in alienation and discontent. Even if persons more frequently and routinely ascend to elite positions from non-elite origins and there may be more empathy between the two groups, it may be becoming more difficult to assuage non-elite groups. There is also less social control from the work place and traditional belief systems. There may be a disjunction and growing clash between the idle and the diligent. However, none of this is very definitive.

Higley maintains that efforts to produce a general theory of elites have not been very successful. “Linking elites causally to major regularities in politics remains elusive; there is no accepted typology of elites and no accepted specification of the circumstances and ways in which one elite type replaces another; political interactions between elites and non-elite populations are captured only piecemeal (p.1).” Predictive pretensions are modest. We cannot point to regularities in elite behaviour and configurations during periods of development and so we must allow considerable leeway for political accident and unpredictable political choice. He concludes that while elite theory is distasteful to many, elites are nevertheless the central actors in politics.

The discussion on political sociology following Higley’s introduction was summarized by Jorge Heine. The field, like sociology itself, is in decline in many countries, in part because it no longer addresses itself to the big questions of society (Lipset’s famous “why no socialism in the United States?) and partly because it has become “an aggregate of causes” – feminism, identity groups – thus losing sight of the larger macro-social picture. The discussion confirmed that elite theory defies determinative explanation although an impressive amount of data has been collected, laying the foundation for more ambitious multi-level analysis. In Germany alone there have been four major surveys in the past forty years offering a very fine-grained analysis including individual behavior in institutions. But there are still major holes in our knowledge and interpretative capacities. How do individuals aggregate into elites and become collective actors? What is the impact of globalization? Are we indeed witnessing the formation of a global “super-elite”? Are we able to distinguish between certain political elites who only really act as “fronts” for the power wielders of a “true ruling class”? Obviously it is difficult to obtain evidence-based answers. And what can we say about the media? Was C. Wright Mills correct that it is part of the ruling class? Is it still true with the blogosphere or has it only made our democracy messier and less predictable? Political sociology has its work cut out for it.

1.4 Governance and Public Policies (Guy Peters):In his report on the session on Governance and Public Policy, Hal Colebatch very succinctly summarizes the essence of Guy Peters introductory paper, “Public policy, administration and governance: the challenge to the conceptual tools of political science”. “The argument advanced by Guy Peters is that the focus of political science was moving from a focus on the choices of government (‘policy-making’) and their execution (‘public administration’) to ‘governance’, a “broader process of collective steering for the economy and society” which will involve other “social actors – both market and societal” as well as “the formal institutions of the public sector”. He went on to argue for the existence of (or the need for) “meta-governance”, that is the assertion by “political leaders” of central steering on an apparently decentralized polity (p.1)”. In effect, Guy Peters paper is in two parts, the first a plea for the concept of ‘governance’, the second a summary of developments in the fields of public policy and of public administration. Let us deal with the ‘governance’ question first.

1.4.1 Governance: The fundamental notion of governance is that there is a need for some form of collective decision-making to steer the society as a whole for a range of values and by a range of actors. “This definition does not privilege any particular actors or any particular institutions, but instead recognizes the functional need to provide the steering and then attempts to understand how the process is carried out (p.3).” The main difference between government and governance is the extent to which non-government actors – interest groups, corporations – take part in the process.

Since the founding of the journal Governance in 1987 and the appearance of publications like Pierre and Peters 2001, Sorenson and Torfing 2007, Tiihonen 2004, Rhodes 1997, it is increasingly proposed that the public sector is bureaucratic, clumsy and incapable of coping with rapidly changing society. Not only is government weak in terms of efficiency but it is also weak in terms of democracy, as exemplified by its failure to capture the interest of citizens. Perhaps providing other loci would stimulate participation but even coalition governments seem to further complicate democratic control. ‘Network governance’, self-organizing networks of social actors, it is proposed, are better suited to coping with complexity and change than are hierarchical mechanisms. The notion of “good governance” seeks to surmount corruption and accountability in order to improve the quality of government and its capacity to improve the lives of citizens. The concept of governance can be used equally well at all levels including the international and urban and indeed to study the complexity of multi-level governance. This also points to the degree which the contemporary state has been disaggregated by agencies, quangos and public-private partnerships – leading to a reduction in its capacity to control and to steer. Hence the recent efforts to think about ‘meta-governance’ as a means of restoring some direction from the centre, not to return to “command and control”, but to steer through “frames and guidelines”.

It is clear that the idea of governance, the idea that the capacity of the public sector to provide coherent direction to society is dependent on its ability to interact successfully with social actors and the global environment, has become part of the dominant discourse on governing in Western liberal democracies. But the discussion in the session centered on the adequacy of ‘governance’ as an analytic construct. As summarized by Colebatch, the critique was articulated around four issues. a) Governance has many meanings and could become an ‘empty signifier’. It can be added hear that very little consideration was given to the international relations use of the concept as “governing without governance”, especially in specific thematic regimes like trade. b). What is the theoretical argument being made about or with the concept of governance? Is it just derived from descriptions? If it is a statement that governance has come about because the state is too incompetent to deal with heightened complexity and rapid change then how can state control be re-imposed (as argued) by ‘meta-governance in the shadow of hierarchy’. c). Practitioners may understand that the notion that governing must be accomplished by the involvement of non-government bodies has always been the case, recognized by a number of metaphors like corporatism and policy networks, so now all we are doing is giving expression to a long known fact of life. d).The geographical scope of debate on the governance concept appears to be limited to Western liberal democracies. In conclusion, while it is recognized that governance has led us to recognize the larger field that must be organized, perhaps what is needed is not a new label but is a better way of theorizing the process of governing that asks how are the different elements woven together and how do we justify including or excluding particular elements?

1.4.2. Public Policy: Public policy is seen as a rather seamless process, starting with agenda setting in politics and moving through program design, legitimation, budgeting, implementation and evaluation. It seeks to understand the actors and the linkages between the stages. Although early analysis of agenda setting was largely purposive, more recent studies emphasized the almost random elements of the process with the need for a “policy window” to open before an issue can be put on the public agenda. In contrast to rational assumptions, policy is seen as a product of a “fortunate confluence of opportunities” (p.11). However, there appear to be patterns of movement of issues on and off the active agenda with rather abrupt changes of visibility and salience. Pressman and Wildavsky (1974) saw policy implementation as a difficult process and identified the number of ‘clearance points’ that needed to be passed in a strongly analytical model. Later it was suggested “backward mapping” might help the process if considerations of implementation were central to the policy’s formation. Complexity doomed attempts at quantitative studies. Wildavsky (1962) was also central to the emergence of public budgeting analysis. He emphasized its political aspects, its repetitive, predictable nature, and the multiple organizations involved, thus producing incremental outcomes. The incremental model was reinforced by Lindblom’s (1965) decision-making model and Herbert Simon’s (1947) seminal work which stressed the “bounded rationality” of decision-making and the likelihood of adjustment through a series of smaller decisions. “Satisficing” was the goal rather than maximization. It is ironic that the interest in budgeting studies has only been maintained among rational choice scholars.

Guy Peters is rather critical of policy studies and feels there has been a general decline in the importance of the field. He finds policy analysts are better at describing the process than they are at explaining outcomes. Although some elements within the general model relied on ‘policy entrepreneurs’ and ‘advocacy-coalitions’, generally it was devoid of the animation, conflict, and clash of ideas that should explain change.

Lowi (1972) proposed to reverse the logic of the process model by arguing that it is policy that can produce politics rather than vice versa. He suggested that fundamental types of policy tend to be associated with certain types of political action. This started a new trend of thinking about analytical categories. For instance it is proposed there are more similarities across countries between policies in the same field than there are between different policy fields in the same country. Globalization has reinforced policy homogenization across boundaries. Policy is also a lens to compare and characterize different political systems – at least across industrialized democracies where almost all the research has been done. It is also hypothesized that it is the choice of policy instruments (subsidies, regulation, symbols, and vouchers) that can influence the likely success of a program. Similarly, it has been found that ‘softer’ instruments rather than ‘command and control’ and the use of coalitions can favorably advance legislation. But legislation can also be seen as part of the policy process rather than its starting point. Another design problem is that the functional bureaucratic categories we traditionally use for policies may not capture the inter-departmental complexities of the policy issues. More recently it is suggested that it is the discourse surrounding policies that may define the ways in which choices are made – thus giving rise to discourse and deliberative models. Finally, comparative studies have found that the pressures on the Welfare state come not only from neo-liberal economics but also from a confluence of real economic, demographic and social change. The list of policy variables: typologies, policy fields, comparison, policy instruments, legislation, issues, discourse and social factors – the list keeps getting longer and our understanding more complex.

1.4.3 Public Administration: In his paper, Guy Peters walks us through the evolution of the various issues and sub-fields in public administration including bureaucracy, New Public Management, personnel, representativeness, politicization, rewards, political relationships and accountability, to show us how governments implement their programs. The most momentous change has been in the gradual supplanting of Weberian bureaucracy by New Public Management (NPM). Traditional bureaucracy was based on Max Weber’s (1946) rational-legal ideal type in which the public service is founded on the principles of merit, specialized expertise, non-politicization, hierarchy and discipline. Recently there has been a call for a “Neo-Weberian State” to return to some of these values while retaining the greater efficiency of NPM reforms, so as to recapture accountability in public service delivery (Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2004). But, since the 1980s the reformers of NPM have continuously criticized public service for its rigidity, hierarchy, formal authority and over-specialization which, they claimed, explained the inefficiencies of centralized bureaucracies (Hood, 1991) As an alternative, NPM proposed the use of ‘market type’ (i.e. private sector) management techniques and emphasis on the role of mangers (“let managers manage”) – even to the point of forcing them to improve through “Performance Management” measurements. It has been argued that NPM is both the salvation and damnation of the public sector by neglecting the necessities of public responsibilities and trying to privatize what are essentially public services. Peters claims it may be increasingly important to understand the central role of the public bureaucracy as many political institutions lose some of their capacity for governance and the public administrators become more important not only for advising on policies but for making the linkages with the various publics for their implementation. This is one of the paradoxical results of NPM which was intended to make the government more market driven but, at the same time sapped the authority of politicians.

Most of the other issues deal in one manner or the other with political questions concerning the field of personnel management. The goal of making public service mirror society was to be representative, to produce a more positive image and outcomes, redress some inequalities and act as a model employer for the evolving society. The public sector in advanced countries does represent the society reasonably well, although not yet at the senior levels. The normative stances have expressed a commitment toward social justice but may not have improved the lot of deprived members of society. In principle public service employment is meant to be on the basis of merit but we have seen that as NPM has moved some programs out from direct ministerial control, politicians increasingly want control over their remaining public servants to promote their agendas. In developing countries this is an important means of building a political power base and loyalty. In all countries a certain number of public service positions are still reserved for political recruitment (“the new broom”). Although NPM have pushed rewards up, especially at the top, to be competitive with the private sector, policies vary from strictly by the rule book in some countries to a huge range of non-salary benefits in other countries where informal rewards are important for the legitimacy of the system as well as for recruitment. Almost inevitably these are exposed to public scrutiny, increasing the cynicism of citizens toward government. Also at the top, the subject of the relations between senior public servants and their “political masters” led Aberbach, Putnam and Rockman (1981) to conceptualize and measure the relationship more precisely. Although there are differences across countries it has been found that the same roles do appear in most countries. Although most studies looked at the attitudes on both sides of the divide to see to what degree they were conducive to cooperation and effective policy-making, it is also possible to conceptualize the relationship from a structural point of view and also as an implicit bargain between the two sets of actors with expertise being exchanged for guaranteed positions..

The question of accountability has become crucial both in domestic and international politics. Traditionally bureaucrats were accountable through their minister to the legislature and the public. Now it appears legislatures are playing a greater role, perhaps as a reaction to their loss of power to the executive. The courts are also being used more to enforce accountability, especially where there are Charters of Rights. At the international level, transparency and accountability are being enforced within and through international organizations like the World Bank. Finally, ‘output legitimation’, the recognized ability to provide services, is becoming more important to respond to the decline in democratic participation.

Guy Peters proposes that the individualistic turn in political science, reflected in both the behavioral and the rational choice approaches, has diverted attention from the output side of the political system and tended to ignore institutions and processes. If we may say the purpose of political science is finding ways to explain why certain political decisions are made, why they are effective, and what their consequences are for citizens, then the governance turn in political science has brought the discipline back to some of its roots in thinking about the capacity of the public sector to provide coherent direction to society. Although the two aspects of the discipline – policy and individual behaviour – are in fact more complimentary than competitive, they tend to ignore each other (specialization?) or to press the primacy of one or the other. This is especially true if governance is seen as a complete circuit including feedback. The more government is disaggregated and includes contacts with citizens and contracts and partnerships, the more the bureaucracy has to provide the continuous linkages, bargaining and adjustments with networks of social actors.

1.4 International Relations (Gunther Hellmann): In his paper presented at the Montreal Conference, Gunther Hellmann explains that he will present his preparations for his article on international relations (IR) in the IPSA Encyclopedia of Political Science as he scours the field to “find specific measures and collect relevant data about what the international community of IR scholars itself thinks is (in Diderot’s words) “knowledge worthy of being disseminated around the globe” (p.3). He wants to draw a map of where the field currently stands and where it may be heading. In particular Hellmann hopes to be able to show that, “While the ‘knowledge’ which the IR community has in the past considered worthy of being “disseminated around the globe” has mainly been the result of a “strange combination of American insularity and hegemony (Waever 1998:689) the last decade has at least seen the beginnings of the end of American dominance in IR (p.3).” But we are dealing here with the realities of the sociology of science that, as Waever claims, are based on the dominance of national disciplinary structures that are self-absorbed with research agendas that reflect national conditions and tend to exchange theory within the West.

As Siegelman (2006) has shown, the insularity of American IR still holds. The primary purposes of three quarters of the articles published in APSR between 1997 and 2006 fell into the categories of: presentation of empirical results (53.7%), presentation of empirical results and formalization (0.8), formalization (18.0), and consideration of methodological issues (3.9), whereas policy prescription (0.0) was virtually non-existent (p.3). In addition, formal modeling made greater inroads in international politic than in any other subfield (45%) (p. 8). However, Hellmann believes he has enough indicators to have a “hunch” that “the rest of the world (as well as an increasing number of IR scholars in the U.S. itself) are ever more parting ways with this manifestation of American IR (p.4).”

He believes that up-dated research on authors by geographical residence will show Americans are publishing abroad which will be a shift away from American “hegemony”. Already, there is increasing esteem for non-American journal like the European Journal of International Relations, founded only in 1995 and now ranked seventh in terms of impact by the ISI “Social Science Citation Index”. There has also been the founding of the Journal of International Relations and Development (the professional journal of the Central and East Europe International Studies Association. Another indicator of challenges to American hegemony is the establishment of WISC, the World International Studies Committee, an association of 21 regional or national international studies associations (with lots of help from the American ISA).

Is an accelerating de-Americanization the same thing as waning Western IR? Hellman thinks it will be more like a “post-Western IR”. Most people lump the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia together. And they are still the core of IR theory and research that the others refer to when discussing regional trends. One of the few studies on regionalism jumped right over the “IR as a Western project” plaint to asking “why there is no non-Western international relations theory” (Acharya and Buzan, 2007). They conclude that, to the degree that international relations theory is constitutive of the reality it addresses (one wonders), Asian states have a major interest in being part of the game – also indeed if we are to improve IRT as a whole. It was suggested that IPSA should form a “trans-cultural Commission on IR”.

But even within the core “Western” region there are a few signs of change. In Germany, for example, perhaps based on its perceived national interest, there is a widely shared judgement that the prevailing Westphalian conceptions of statehood are inadequate to grasp current far-reaching processes of transformation. The German IR research community is looking at “debordering” the discipline in terms of developing a “science of the global” which seeks to distance itself from “methodological nationalism”. It was suggested that the IPSA should form a trans-cultural commission on Internationa Relations. Nevertheless, in broad terms, it seems as though the IR community has rejected “great debates” and settled down for Kuhnian “normal science”, each researcher “self-encapsulated” within one of a broad range of coexisting theoretical perspectives. The Oxford Handbook of IR lists the following nine “major theoretical perspectives: realism, Marxism, neo-liberal institutionalism, new liberalism, the English School, constructivism, critical theory, postmodernism and feminism (Reus-Smit and Snidal, 2008). The chapter introducing these perspectives (Katzenstein/Sil) calls them “analytical eclecticism” based on a self-consciously “agnostic methodological stance”. Even so, problem-oriented research dominates over methodologism. Added to these trends are a more subjectivist orientation affirming the significance of the actor in IR, and a greater appreciation of historical sociology and normative theory.

1.6 Summary and Conclusions to Section 1: The Major Subfields

The overall impression one gains from the main papers and discussions of the major subfields at the IPSA Montreal Conference on “New Theoretical and Regional Perspectives in Political Science” is that the discipline has been developing in an incremental manner during the last decade of the 20th century and the first of the 21st century. There has been a continuous output of research and new techniques. But the major conclusion has to be that there have been no major breakthroughs and even the significant changes that there have been – such as in empirical quantitative methodology, elite theory, New Public Management, and governance – are all now hotly contested. Political science around the world still seems to be looking for itself. In fact what was said of international relations seems to apply to all of political science: the community has rejected “great debates” and settled down for Kuhnian “normal science”, each researcher “self-encapsulated” within one of a broad range of coexisting theoretical perspectives. It has been called “analytical eclecticism” based on a self-consciously “agnostic methodological stance”.

The study and application of methodologies, especially quantitative ones, have made great leaps forward in the recent decades. The level of sophisticated quantitative analysis is “stunning”, as is its interpretation. This is supported by advances in norms and software for the collection, replication and sharing of large-N data sets. There is also tremendous interest in working out research design issues. One particular advance is in new multilevel models which allow researchers to get beyond assumptions of homogeneity by both assessing and modeling heterogeneity and by aggregating micro and macro analysis and this is increasingly supported by impressive amounts of data collection. Other evolutions include: a return to problem-oriented research; a more subjectivist orientation affirming the significance of the actor; and a greater appreciation of historical sociology and normative theory.

The question is posed of whether or not all the more sophisticated methodological analysis is not too far out in front of the discipline? Is it not time to get back to political science by attaining coherence between theory and measures? Perhaps there is too much emphasis on maximizing the internal validity of our quantitative models at the expense of external validity and generalizability to the world of politics. However, all this cumulation in quantitative methodologies appears to be contradicted, or perhaps the better term is ‘balanced’, by the latest move to a greater acceptance of qualitative research and the recognition of the need for “multi-methods”. The same themes are repeated in international relations where a study showed that more than three quarters of the IR articles published in the APSR between 1996 and 2006 fell into the general categories of the presentation of empirical results, often formalized ones. There were no policy prescription articles. However, it is found that this represents “a strange combination of American insularity and hegemony” or perhaps it is just the APSR. In either case, the trend now, including that of many Americans, is parting ways with this manifestation of American IR and towards other international journals and perhaps toward a post-Western even global IR with more interest in qualitative, normative and historical research.

Elite theorists, after decades of intensive studies, have some rather unpalatable advice for their fellow citizens. Elites arise from the fact that in large collectivities common interests are fairly minimal and must be supplemented by authoritative decisions. Elite theorists believe historical evidence indicates that no type of elite is compatible with the full democratic ideal. Thus, elite theory teaches that a mature advocate of democracy must always settle for a political order that is considerably less than the ideal so as to avoid the disastrous expression of dogmatic interests. This sounds like conservative, functionalist advice. But sometimes 20-20 vision sees better without rose-tinted glasses. Nothing stops us from seeing that elite theorists are teaching that to buttress themselves against the inevitability of elites, societies should pay attention to their socialization and look to their balanced access to political resources (Etzioni-Halevy 1993). Nevertheless,

efforts to produce a general theory of elites have not been very successful. Linking elites causally to major regularities in politics remains elusive. There is no accepted specification of the circumstances and ways in which one elite type replaces another. Political interactions between elites and non-elite populations are captured only piecemeal. Still and all, while elite theory is distasteful to many and predictability is elusive, elites are nevertheless central political actors.

New Public Management (NPM) has proposed the adoption of private management techniques in public management settings, as well as out-sourcing, privatization, and “letting managers manage”. The reformers of NPM have continuously criticized public service for its rigidity, hierarchy, formal authority and over-specialization which, they claimed, explained the inefficiencies of centralized bureaucracies. It has been argued that NPM is both the salvation and damnation of the public sector by neglecting the necessities of public responsibilities and trying to privatize what are essentially public services. It may be increasingly important to understand the central role of the public bureaucracy as many political institutions lose some of their capacity for governance and the public administrators become more important not only for advising on policies but for making the linkages with the various publics for their implementation. This is one of the paradoxical results of NPM which was intended to make the government more market driven but, at the same time sapped the authority of politicians.

The fundamental notion of ‘governance’ is that there is a need for some form of collective decision-making to steer the society as a whole for a range of values and by a range of actors. This definition dovetails neatly with that of the elite theorists but there is no linkage. Both recognize the functional need to provide steering. The main difference between government and governance is the extent to which non-government actors – interest groups, corporations – take part in the process. The critique of governance is articulated around four issues. a) Governance has many meanings and could become an ‘empty signifier’. b) Is there a theoretical argument being made or is the concept just derived from descriptions? It is hard to take seriously a concept that does not give pride of place to ‘government’ among steering groups. c) It can be argued that the involvement of non-government bodies has always been the case. d) The geographical scope of debate appears to be limited to Western liberal democracies. While the concept of governance has led us to recognize the larger political field that must be organized, perhaps what is needed is not a new label but a better way of theorizing the process of governing that asks how the different elements are woven together. The individualistic turn in political science, reflected in both the behavioral and the rational choice approaches, diverted attention from the output side of the political system and tended to ignore institutions and processes. The governance turn in political science has brought the discipline back to some of its roots in thinking about the capacity of the public sector to provide coherent direction to society. Although the two aspects of the discipline – policy and individual behaviour – are in fact more complimentary than competitive, they tend to ignore each other (specialization?) or to press the primacy of one or the other.

The list of variables in policy analysis: typologies, policy fields, comparison, policy instruments, legislation, issues, discourse and social factors – keeps getting longer and our understanding more complex. But policy studies have been in general decline in importance. Policy analysts seen better at describing processes than they are at explaining outcomes. Although some elements within the general policy model rely on ‘policy entrepreneurs’ and ‘advocacy-coalitions’, generally it is devoid of the animation, conflict, and clash of ideas that should explain change.

Of course this section has provided many other details on the recent evolution of the basic fields of political science. However none of the fields is without fundamental criticism. In addition, we are dealing here with the realities of the sociology of science that, as Waever claims are based on the dominance of national disciplinary structures that are self-absorbed with research agendas that reflect national conditions and tend, at the most, to still be Western. The basic impression is still one of an international discipline in search of its soul.

A number of the challenges affecting political science have been enumerated. We are in a situation of catching up with a changing world. New problems and realities keep forcing us to open up new boxes. Examples are: globalization, enhanced social pluralism, the requirement of greater tolerance for diversity, dealing with people’s revolutions and the greater relevance of civil society. It seems like everything has been transformed and political theory must keep in step. In a globalized world, how do we reconcile equality and universality, common identity and new particularities? How do we get sacrifices for the common good to build new forms of solidarity? Theory will have to deal with the rediscovery of history and religion. Once again we will be forced to ask what are the meaning and limits of universal and regional concepts. Perhaps some functions are universal even if institutions are not. It seems there is a demand for stronger normative philosophy. The conundrum will be developing broad theory in a world of cultural and local differences and perhaps in situations where shared liberal values do not exist. All the new communications technologies require political science to think about how we become informed and how we disseminate information to others. The dilemma of political theory is that the problems it deals with are always a mixture of the normative and the empirical or between the ‘ought’ and the ‘is’. This is compounded by the recent tendency of overspecialization (a problem mentioned several times throughout this section) and hence the mutual isolation of the normative and the empirical. Modern political theory should be based on a conversation between the classical and empirical approaches rather than their isolation from one another.

With regard to other fields, political sociology is in decline in many countries, partly because it no longer addresses itself to the big questions of society (Lipset’s famous “why no socialism in the United States?) and partly because it has become an aggregate of causes that lose sight of the larger, macro-social picture. Comparative research is having troubles fostering more collaborative analysis and still mainly publishes small-N studies with limited comparative scope. International relations theory and research is still mainly “a Western project”. In fact, it was suggested that IPSA should form a “Trans-cultural Commission on IR”. But even within sections of the core “Western” region there is a growing perception that the prevailing Westphalian conceptions of statehood are inadequate to grasp current far-reaching processes of transformation. Proving the depth of the requirement for change in political science, we find some advanced researchers calling for a “debordering” of the discipline in terms of developing a “science of the global” which seeks to distance itself from “methodological nationalism”.

2) The state of the discipline in major regions of the world

2.1: Overviews

It will be recalled from the introduction that in this section on the development of political science in countries around the world, I will be using a model of explanation developed in RC 33. Although we look at origins and current orientations and trends, this is not just another "state-of-the-art" exercise. By 'development' we mean analysis and explanation: analytic evaluation of the problems and advances of the various elements of the field including both its research output and infrastructure; explanation of why political science emerged the way it has

The countries included in the various panels had very different backgrounds in terms of historical traditions, religion, culture and stages of economic and political development. Thus there is great variety in political science but also some strikingly common broad patterns of development. Hideo Otake, Max Kasse and Wyn Grant sought out the meaning of the similarities and dissimilarities as general rapporteurs for the panels.

All of them saw steady expansion in departments, associations, journals, teaching and research staffs and students in all the countries reporting.

In Asia, the Pacific and Africa, Otake found it was useful to categorize development in four time periods. In the pre-1945 period (until the 1960s in Africa) the dominant approaches were either legalistic/institutional or historical/philosophical. Political studies were aimed at the elites. Opposition groups cherished other traditions – American and British liberal philosophy or Marxism in Africa during the 1960s. The second period (1945-mid 1960s) was characterized by the Americanization of political science with behaviorism becoming the dominant trend. Americanization was promoted by foundations helping young scholars to study in the United States and by foreign activities of American area specialists. In several more authoritarian countries, study of local politics was taboo. In the later 1960s and 1970s political science was now critically regarded as a tool of American imperialism. Radical neo-Marxism, nationalism, political sociology and feminism moved to the fore and are still identifiable. In the fourth stage since the 1980s, with the collapse of communism and the Cold War, reform replaced revolution and “liberal-democracy was regarded at least as the least worst.” Political scientists helped with constitution-making and electoral and legislative designs. This lead to a “common forum” on the quality of democracy including debates on deliberative and participatory democracy, social capital and gender equality. Attempts were made to render public administration more transparent, efficient and accountable. At the same time national and ethnic identity was creating serious controversies. Australia and Japan became regional centres for the discipline. Many political scientists write for U.S. based journals using theories and methodologies suitable for publication in the U.S.. This retreat from domestic politics is leading to a gap between public expectations and scholarly interest in the Asia-Pacific.

While it is not the fault of the IPSA, where they are not members, China, West Asia, the Middle East and French Black Africa were absent from the conference. This is a problem for political science rendered more difficult by the lack of indispensable democracy. There was a unanimous opinion from the floor that mainland China should be encouraged to join IPSA.

Max Kasse reported on an eclectic combination of northern, western, southern and central European countries. He found there was an implicit notion of “path dependency in the sense that the development of political science was and continues to be influenced by institutional, social and not the least cultural/intellectual conditions prevalent in the various countries (p.1)”. At the macro level, European political science has become increasingly integrated by its associations and the Bologna process. The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) was founded as a link between departments, institutes and faculties in 1970 and had 280 members by 2006. It has been joined by the European Political Science Network (epsNet) created in 2001 by individual political scientists to focus on teaching. Then in 2008, the European Confederation of Political Science was formed to bring together national associations. The Montreal Conference called for the formation of a general European political science association and a new journal. Already in March 2009, the ECPR and Cambridge University Press launched the new European Political Science Review (EPSR). Integration has also been increased by the Bologna process, a treaty between European education ministers in 1999 to make teaching and degrees compatible across European countries and to foster student and researcher exchanges and the standardization of curricula. Diversity was underlined with regard to national perspectives on the future. Some like the Czech Republic and Estonia were quite positive. Others like Italy, Germany, France and Finland were very concerned about the possible destabilizing effects for a relatively fledgling political science discipline of current ‘reforms’ in the education, university and research finance systems. Notions of internationally ‘competitive’ universities, ‘clusters of excellence’ integrating research institutes, and the effects of ‘institutionalized’ interdisciplinarity on disciplinary boundaries were cited as examples of such reforms.

Wyn Grant reported for another mixed group of European countries. Current trends in former Communist countries show Lithuania concentrating on public administration and comparative and international politics, including European integration. Both Poland and Russia had something approaching political studies under communism. But political science is democracy driven so that the challenge in post-communist countries was to institutionalize the discipline and very considerable progress has been attained. After nineteen years, political science is reaching “adulthood”. But, the separation between the roles of political scientists and politicians are not clear, and, at least in Russia, the position of the discipline was described as “delicate”. They have to take into account the political context. More concentration on methodology and shared standards are required. Political science in the UK has recently experienced a major ‘benchmarking’ study sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council and has been pronounced in good health. Nonetheless the discipline is marked by the fluidity of its boundaries with international relations and public administration creating separate associations. Also more work needs to be done on quantitative analysis and on the status of women and ethnic minorities in the profession. Specialist sections are particularly strong and fostering international relations with colleagues. Luxembourg, although having a tradition of research centres, created its first political science department in its new university in 2003 and emphasizes, quite naturally, the role of small states and regional integration.

Turkey has been unique in its focus on public service and semi-professional schools but with more recent broadening of scope.

Wyn Grant thinks that in attempting to explain the development of the discipline, a number of themes have stood out: the relationship with the nature of the polity and with the political class; relationship to practice/public service oriented political studies; blurred disciplinary boundaries; and tolerance of different approaches and methodologies.

2.2: Antecedents

Many think that American political science has motivated and dominated the development of the discipline around the world. And there is much truth in this perception. However, such a perspective would cut us off from the roots of political thought, for example in ancient Greece, China and Arabia. Moreover, many countries are at pains to recapture the more recent roots of their political studies. Here are some noteworthy examples.

  • Germany: Wilhelm Bleek (2001) traces the history of German political science back to the first founding of universities in Germany i.e. the 14th century. Aristotle, who had only been rediscovered in the first half of the 13th century, was the main authority in liberal arts and his political and philosophical writings formed the older teaching of politics. The first lecture on politics was held in 1389 in Vienna and 1390 in Prague; the Universities of Leipzig and Erfurt made attendance at such lectures mandatory in 1410 and 1449 respectively. To educate personnel for the promotion of Protestantism and the emerging modern state, 50 new universities were opened between 1600 and 1800. Even princes took pride in establishing their “own” university. Political science became an autonomous academic discipline. To the normative-oriented Aristotelian tradition was added the subjects of Staatswissenschaft, especially statistics, finance, and policy. However, the participation of political science professors in the Frankfurter Nationalversammlung, the national assembly convened in 1848/49 to draft an all German constitution, led to a frown from the authorities and the institutional decline of political science (completed by the Nazi) – although it was to survive through its influence on the founding of political science in the United States (Schuttemeyer: 1-2).
  • France: In France, not to mention the still pertinent philosophy of Rousseau or the constitutionalism of Montesquieu, political science is traced back to the founding of the École libre des sciences politiques in Paris in 1871. The objective was to train French élites by teaching “sciences” seen as useful for government (history, economics, law and social science) plus considerations of legal and moral philosophy. Political science proper may be said to have started with André Siegfried’s Tableau politique de la France de l’ouest in 1913 as a geographical and sociological explanation of electoral behaviour. But it attained an audience only in 1945 when political science was recognized as an autonomous discipline, distinct from law and philosophy, and with the creation of the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in Paris. It can be considered one of the Grandes écoles of France with highly selective student recruitment, high admission fees, significant autonomy and monopoly of access to management positions (Déloye & Mayer:2).
  • Italy: In some ways, Italians consider the various antecedents of political science in their country to be a mixed blessing. Capano and Verzichelli open their text with the statement, “It has not been easy for political science to become institutionalized in the country of Machiavelli, Mosca and Pareto, three scholars who are internationally recognized as among the founding fathers of modern political science (p. 1)”. They start by explaining that anti-empirical and normative approaches to politics have long characterized both Italy and the European mainland until it started to be challenged by such studies as Gaetano Mosca’s Elementi di Scienza Politica in 1886. However this challenge succumbed to the gradual formalization of the juridical approach and eventually by the advent of the Fascist regime. The study of politics was largely neglected, being considered an “epiphenomenon of philosophical idealism”. Later, after the Second World War, political science was inhibited by the cultural prevalence of Marxism and idealist Hegelianism. Thus, political phenomena were perceived to be the “product of structural economic factors or a sort of contingent interruption to the ongoing pursuit of the unity of the spirit (following Benedetto Croce, Italy’s most influential philosopher of the 20th century)(Capano and Verzichelli: 1-2, 33).”
  • Australia: There were spasmodic beginnings in the 19th century in history and law departments with the major influences being British – constitutional law, liberties and civics. The first major break was in public administration based on the study of “state experiments” in the 1930s. These were statutory bodies (or quangos) to provide both public utilities and also tripartite bodies for legally enforceable wages and work conditions. A Department of Public Administration started at the University of Sydney along with the journal of Public Administration and Australian Institutes of Public Administration and of International Relations in 1933-34. The first separate Department of Political Science was only inaugurated at the University of Melbourne in 1949.
  • Japan: In 1877, the University of Tokyo was founded as Japan’s first modern university and political science had a professorship in the Faculty of Letters. In the reorganization of 1885 it was assigned a chair in the Faculty of Law along with economics – law faculties are still home to the vast majority of political scientists even today. At the start, most teaching was done by foreigners or bureaucrats until the first full-time Japanese professor was appointed in 1901. In pre-Second World War there were few, if any, civil liberties and restrictions were imposed on political science which consisted of adaptations of the latest European fads with little observation of Japanese politics. But by 1946, the University of Tokyo was back with seven chairs of political science.
  • Turkey: “The needs of governments to address problems confronting society has constituted a major driving force behind the development of political studies, first in the Ottoman Empire and later in the Turkish Republic (Turan:1).” In 1859 the School of Public Service (Mulkiye) was opened in Istanbul to train civil servants. It was succeeded by a School of Law in 1878 inspired by the French model and still designed to train bureaucrats. Scholarly research was not a primary concern. An examination of the textbooks used in Mulkiye shows the instructors were well aware of the idea of political science, not only the French concept but the German Staatslehre and Staatswissenschaft. Although dedicated to training loyal republican elites it founded an academic journal in 1931, renamed The Journal of Political Science in 1935. Eventually, it transformed itself into the larger and more sophisticated Faculty of Political Science at the University of Ankara in 1946. Ankara continued more as a professional school, joined by a Department of Public Administration at the Middle East Technical University in 1956. Several political science departments were opened in the 1960s and 70s but during the “military intervention” of 1980-83, there was a clear cut aversion to liberal arts in general and political science in particular. Rather, there was again a preference for professional training in departments of public administration and international relations – a model which, with minor exceptions, still applies today (Turan: 1-4).
  • Russia: While it is recognized that political science, as such, did not exist under communism in the Soviet Union, “it would be premature to assume that political science in post-Soviet Russia started from scratch. Well back in the USSR, political studies were carried out under the guise of some other disciplines – theory of the state and law, area studies, international relations, studies of labor movement, and ‘critique of bourgeois theories’ etc… So ‘de facto political science’ existed in the USSR since the 1960s before it became ‘de jure political science’ in Russia in 1989 (Ilyin & Malinova: 1)“. In some cases, the store of knowledge accumulated in Soviet social studies became an impediment. An example is the study of ethnicity where the “inertia of stereotypes” and ideological approaches shaped “terminological conventions” that have hampered political science (p.8). Also because political science was not taught in the universities there were no specialists in the field, no specialized journals, and ideological limitations meant that political studies could be done only on limited issues that were “chronologically or geographically distant” (p.1).
  • Poland: From 1795 to 1918, Poland was partitioned. Even under Austro-Hungarian rule, a School of Political Science started in Lvov in 1902 to educate future scholars and do research. By 1911 the Polish School of Political Science had been created within the Department of Law at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. In 1914 a school began at the University of Warsaw which became the Academy in 1939. After 1945, political studies generally became subordinated to communist ideology and the training of party cadres. However, after a “thaw” in 1956, the Polish Association of Political Science was established in 1957 and joined IPSA – an important step in its development.

    By1967 political science was named as an independent discipline. Participation in IPSA showed the need for rebuilding the field of study and the Institute of Political Science at the University of Warsaw was allowed to create an M.A. program in 1967. The first Ph.D. program began organizing in the Institute of Political Science at the Jagiellonian University of Kracow in 1970. Two years later, Artur Bodnar created the “Leading Methodological Centre for Political Science” to popularize theoretical and methodological development and help unite the discipline. Also in 1972, the Polish Academy created a Committee for Political Science thus according official status. Poland, with its unique history and culture was the only Eastern country to make such political science advances under Communism. In 1976, the Institute of Political Science at the Slask University in Katowice, coordinated a large research project which examined the Polish political culture. Quietly published in 1980, its conclusions warned of a high degree of social dissatisfaction and approval of conflict. The Party called it “black propaganda”. The workers strikes and Solidarnose began later in the year (Sasinska-Klas:5-6).

  • United States: To complete the circle, the American paper recognizes the strong contributions of German and British studies, theorists and teachers to the founding of the discipline in the United States at the start of the 20th century and of the influence of diverse disciplines including history, law, sociology and economics.

2.3 Current Orientations - Advances

2.3.1 Growth: The growth of political science since World War 2 has been quite phenomenal. Here are some examples. Political science is now institutionalized in 22 Central and East European countries just 19 years after the fall of Communism. There are an estimated 4,600 political scientists in each of West and Central/Eastern Europe as of 2006. There are also probably some 300,000 students in all of Europe taking at least some courses in political science (Klingemann:372,5,6). Kasse (2007) estimates there are some 40,000 of us around the world now, producing more than 1,000 journals. In Italy, the number of professors has doubled in the 20 years 1987-2007 and has now attained a critical mass. In post-war Finland there were 5 professors; there are now 57 plus 100 full-time research positions. In the UK there were 119 post-graduate students in 1967. By 2007 there were 9,625. Turkey had 1,203 Ph.D. students in political science subjects in 2006/7 and 5,435 in M.A. programs. In Germany, the number of students had tripled between 1980 and 1992; then they grew from 20,249 in 1992 to 28,305 in 2006. In France, research expenses at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris expanded by 70 percent from 1996 to 2003. The ECPR was founded with just 8 institutional members in 1970 but by 2008 it had grown to more than 330 collective members which comprise 8,000 political scientists. Brazil started with one under-graduate program in international relations in 1974 and had 98 programs by 2008. Finally, the United States has graduated 25,254 doctorates in political science from 1968 to 2008 (4,759 of them non-U.S.) The country produces 1,100 new Ph.D.s per year and increases this rate by 20 annually.

2.3.2 Institutionalization: For newcomers to political science, institutionalization, that is the creation of structures, standards and community, is the priority task, as indeed it was for most other countries in the post-World War 2 period. To give one little and one big example, let us look at Lithuania and Russia. As early as in 1989, enthusiasts from several disciplines in Lithuania published the first political science journal Politika which later became Politologija. An institute of International Relations and Political Science was established at Vilnius University in 1992 by faculty coming from law, philosophy, history, economics and some visiting professors. A bachelors program started a year later. “It is surprising how rapidly the new field of political science evolved” (Jakniunaité & Vinogradnaité:2). Early stages of development included: 1) Getting familiar with basic theoretical and methodological approaches used by Western academics and acquiring research identities (Krupovicius 2002: 293). 2) Preparing introductory courses and developing degree programs. 3) Doing normative, descriptive and case-based research. 4) Shifting from qualitative to quantitative, empirical and comparative studies. Most research in Lithuania has not yet arrived at stage 4 and is still consists of descriptive, Lithuanian case-based studies. Today, political science and public administration are considered two different disciplines by official classification. Strangely enough, fragmentation in a small community is increased by cross-national and cross-disciplinary linkages. Even so, a certain ‘discipline’ may be found only in some sub-fields.

In 1989, the decree of the State Committee on Science and Technology made political science an officially admitted discipline and opened the way to full institutionalization for departments, courses and degrees. “Political scientists had, at the same time, to educate themselves (they were recruited from fields as divers as mathematics and history), to teach their students, to do research and to provide ‘expert’ political judgments (Ilyin & Malinova:1-2). Science by definition is a collective enterprise - the growth of systematic, empirical knowledge is the work of generations by an academic milieu that engenders common languages and standards of professional activity and partnerships of colleagues who make critical assessments (ibid: 2-3). Professional standards are developed through the socialization of education. For the ten year period 1991-2000, Russians defended 175 doctoral and 603 candidate dissertations. But for just the five years 2001-05, this figure had grown to 236 doctoral and 1522 candidate theses. The membership in the Russian Political Science Association has stabilized around the 500 - 600 mark, from 50 different regions. In a survey of those attending the 2005 national meeting almost 70 percent said they considered themselves to be part of a professional political science community. In many sub-fields such as political elites, electoral studies, comparative research and political psychology, there are well established professional communities. This is because, besides the formal institutionalization of departments, faculties and councils, the professionalism of these groups has been supplemented by self-organization of informal research networks via particular research projects, conferences, seminars, exchanges, and critical assessment (ibid:8-9). “The fact of the emergence of a main body of professional community gives hope for the future of political science in Russia (ibid:10).” Still, the authors find that political science in Russia is vague and its 200 sub-fields ill-defined, unlike Poland where there are five main fields of concentration: theory, the functioning of political systems, social movements and historical political doctrines, international relations and sectoral policies, These two little case studies of Lithuania and Russia may be helpful guides for countries which desire to develop a political science community.

Comments on institutionalization in other countries tend to bring us up-to-date on their progress. In Argentina, faculties have made greater efforts to up-date curricula and the training of teachers, stimulated by a new national system of university evaluation regulated by the state (Fernandez: 6). While Brazil only has its first I.R. undergraduate course in 1974, it now has 98 plus 7 M.A. programs and 2 doctoral programs as of 2008. There are also numerous research institutes and a new Brazilian International Relations Association created in 2005. In Canada there has been a growth and consolidation of graduate programs so that Canada is now able to provide for itself.

Different and sometimes conflicting institutions in France complicate the development of political science especially considering recent and potential changes. There are only two university departments of political science. One quarter of teacher/researchers are in independent Institutes of Political Science. The National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) hires 43 percent of political science researchers. But the majority of political science teacher are employed in Law Faculties. Only 4 to 8 professor positions are recruited each year in all of France. This leads Déloye and Mayer to conclude, “The institutionalization of French political science remains largely incomplete. It remains strictly dependent, in terms of teaching, on law faculties on the one hand, and on the other, on its status as a generalist discipline intended to train the French elites in the Political Studies Institutes (p.5).”

Following the Bologna process, there has been a generalized introduction of modularized, consecutive Bachelor and Masters Programs in Germany – even if some are reluctant to part with the tried and true Humbolt ideas on universitas. However, at many universities there are only two or three (full) professors and several assistants so these small departments are forced to throw in with other departments to build B.A. and M.A. programs. This can result in “fanciful new courses” with little to do with political science and possible dangers to its identity. (Schuttemeyer: 4). In addition, while higher education has mostly been free in Germany, some of the Lander (provinces) have started introducing university fees. I might mention here that most other European countries (Russia is the exception) report relatively full implementation of the Bologna process of B.A. and M.A. degree harmonization – usually, as in Germany, with some small caveats. As a follow-up to the Bologna process, Germany has proposed to the other European PSAs that at least half the courses in the BA degree be in political science.

Ever since its beginning in Japan, political science has been lodged for the most part in law faculties. There are 29 departments of political science with 10 or more members of the Japanese Political Science Association. The founding of new, high status Graduate Schools in a number of disciplines, including Public Policy and Management, has broadened the base of graduate students in the discipline and increased the scope of their career path. Political science in Belgium is characterized by structural fragmentation between Catholic and lay and Flemish and French leading to regionalized and relatively small departments. But this is remedied to some degree by greater autonomy in specific departments, good productivity and international networking, good demand and visibility in the media, and the availability of the EU and Brussels for funding and employment for graduates.

2.3.3 Personnel: Now we have considered some of the issues concerning political science structures, it is natural to turn to their personnel or, in more formal terms, the task of creating a core community with a professional identity. In many of the newer political science countries, political scientists often tend to still have multiple identities. For instance in Russia, a survey found that those who consider themselves ‘political scientists’ include not only researchers and teachers (74%) but also analysts, consultants and journalists (Ilyin & Malinova: 3). The main fields of the doctoral degrees of those presently teaching political science are history, philosophy, economics and sociology – so it really is a multidisciplinary discipline. But Italy has the same situation where the media uses the term politologo to refer not only to political scientists but to historians and constitutionalists as well as to commentators and journalists -- and few have ever encountered the academic discipline (Capano &Verzichelli: 33). In Korea, of 1,600 political science Ph.Ds, 60 percent teach, another 20 percent are in research institutes, and the rest are journalists, government officials or politicians (Lee & Kim: 9).

Another common finding, this time of most countries, is the paucity of women in political science. For instance: in Russia the proportion is one third and in the UK also. The author of the Australian paper, Marian Sawer, notes that despite having a strong women’s caucus, “curriculum studies suggest the effect of feminist scholarship has been additive rather than transformational (p. 6).” In the United States, still today the political science professoriate is barely more than one third female (Brintnall, Affigne, Pinderhughes: 4). The same situation exists in most countries. In Finland, only one of 22 tenured full professors is a woman. In Japan, only 12 percent of researchers are female, the same ratio as in the PSA. And so it goes. The same situation pertains to ethnic minorities in Western countries. As the British authors expressed it, “Political science is male and white – and we are very slow in remedying it (p.13)”.

Another commonality is the problems being experienced by young political scientists, paralleled by the efforts of some countries to help their younger colleagues. Again, in Russia the number of youth without degrees in the PSA (Russian Political Science Association) has grown so that a new Youth Branch was formed in 2006 with 200 members from 25 regions and it holds national congresses every three years. But Russia is far from being alone. Turkey too has started to hold national graduate student conventions. In Korea there are usually some 300 Ph.D.s looking for teaching jobs. It can take two to three years to find one but with no guarantees. The market is not there. Political science keeps losing its popularity (Lee & Kim: 10). Germany too is experiencing problems. Continuous budget cuts since 2004 have led to a loss of 12 percent of the professors and lecturers without doctorates and 39 percent of the lecturer positions with doctorates. “The proverbial bottleneck on the career ladder is getting narrower and narrower and there is a considerable reduction of income for all newcomers (Schuttemeyer: 6).”

There are now a growing number of private universities in a great variety of countries including Argentina, Finland, Turkey and Poland). These comparatively well paying colleges provide public universities with very difficult competition.

With regard to teaching, Australia is one of the few countries to follow the British tradition of a non-teaching doctoral program where students concentrate on thesis research and the presentation of papers. Hitherto, the Germans were also like the British but recently doctoral programs are starting to be instituted. Nearly half of the Ph.D.s awarded to Koreans from 1962 to 1993 were “made in USA” and many still are (p. 4). France has a rather unique position where 43 percent of its political scientists are full-time researchers. Germany is also unique in having the survival of many of its departments depend on the training of teachers to supply the mandatory teaching of civics at every level of school. It has also been discovered that the content of the German B.A. degrees varies widely from political science forming half the program to it being just a subsidiary subject. In the U.K., undergraduate interest in political science courses doubled between 2001 and 2005 and it is now the second most popular social science. Perhaps this is in response to several factors: the discipline’s boundaries are flexible and the heterogeneous curriculum provides variety to students; the proportion of research staff is higher and internationalization has led to better professional standards. Poland reports all Polish universities offer study programs in political science, more often theoretical than methodological. Nevertheless, its curriculum now is similar (but not identical) to that offered to political science students in Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada (Sasinska-Klas: 8). The Bologna process has improved political science via the mobility of staff and students and the Socrates/Erasmus exchange programs.

Another tool for building political science community is a political science association (PSA). The United Kingdom paper reports that while its PSA has traditionally strong links with the American association, it continues to forge new relationships with sister European organizations. However, like many other countries, the British association, although it has more than doubled in size from 800 to 1,600 between 1997 and 2007, does not attract the burgeoning community of international relations specialists who have formed a 900 strong British International Studies Association. The division between political science and international relations and even public administration (which sometimes has other names) is a constant theme through many of the national papers (e.g Australia, Japan, UK, Brazil, Argentina etc.). Japan has a strong PSA with 1,650 member but there is also an international relations association (1,500 members) as well as associations for public administration, electoral studies, public policy and political thought. It has strong, regular exchanges with the American, Korean and Russian associations, encourages the formation of research committees to strengthen its activities, and has played a strong role in IPSA. These themes of multiple associations, exchanges, working with IPSA and creating specialists groups have also been repeated by many countries.

Finland’s political science association, founded in 1935 (the fourth oldest in the world), helped to spread “scientific ideas”. Like most other Europe countries, it has also joined the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), the European Political Science Network (epsNet) focused on teaching, and the most recent European Confederation of Political Science (associations) – plus the Nordic Association. Belgium is another country that is well networked – internationally through IPSA and its co-linguists and regionally in Europe. Korea with its 1,300 members has a very active PSA with annual symposia, monthly seminars, and international conferences – and there are 20 other associations in political science sub-fields. France too notes its active associational life and the multiplication of research committees (“working groups”).

2.3.4The Core Field and Research Trends:

There is a growing concentration around the world on a generalized set of sub-fields that are taught in universities. The core components of the political science curriculum that Klingemann attributes to Europe, in effect apply more broadly:

  • Political theory and the History of political ideas;
  • Political system of one’s country and the region;
  • Public administration and policy analysis;
  • Political economy and Political Sociology;
  • Comparative political analysis;
  • International relations; and
  • Methodology (including statistics)(p.374).

Again, the caveats that Klingemann applies to Europe are also repeated in many other countries. First, different epistemological positions surface when it comes to particular methodological skills: one camp stressing analytic theory and quantitative data analysis while the other prefers a historical approach and hermeneutics. Second, the breadth of the definition of the discipline is becoming somewhat centrifugal as some fields try to create disciplines of their own – as is the case with International Relations and Public Administration (p. 374).

The same phenomenon is taking place with regard to research. A core global set of research sub-fields seems to be appearing but, of course, the overall number of sub-fields is much more extensive than in teaching (Russia counted 200 of them). As the Brazilian author commented, “Specialists, for better or worse, are following the main international tendencies (Pinheiro: 13)”. Canada agreed that after a nationalist period, “Canadian research has moved back in line with global tendencies using relevant comparative models with Canadian cases (Johnson: 6).” Similarly, France stresses multiple current efforts to “internationalize the discipline”. Among the research specializations specifically mentioned were:
political economy, political sociology, methodologies, social movements, elections and electoral systems, parties, legislatures, European Union and regionalism, democracy and democratization, civil society, local government, comparative and area studies, political history, experimental political science, gender politics, public opinion, international relations and foreign policy (in all its diversity), public administration, management and policy, constitutionalism, human rights, conflict, security, and , of course, a complete array of national studies.

There is also a convergence around an eclectic, pluralist set of approaches to political science analysis. Among those mentioned on several occasions: systems analysis, structural-functionalism, behavioralist historical-institutionalism, juridical-constitutional, critical theory, Marxism, qualitative research, management (public administration). Although public choice was mentioned several times it was also noted on several occasions that there was very little or no public choice analysis in various countries.

A fourth common tendency is with regard to political science journals. Not only are they expanding in number (as we have seen, Kasse estimates there are now more than 1,000 around the world) but our associations recognize that one of their key contributions to the professionalization of communications is to sponsor a flagship journal. The ranking of journals has shown that all leading journals are published in English and the dominant ones are U.S. based. This leads Klingemann to conclude not only that journals in various other mother tongues are indispensable for the discipline but “today, command of English is a precondition for any political scientist who wants to participate in European or global professional discourse (p. 386-7). Other convergences in journals include trends towards: internationalization of authors and contents; thematic and specialized journals and fewer generalized ones; less influence for non-English journals; more methodological and empirical maturity and complexity of content; and less parochialism, more comparativism and international studies. One novelty is the electronic journal Eurozine at which acts as an electronic review of a network of European cultural journals. It presents tables of contents and emblematic articles. In a similar vane, the British have published the Political Studies Review that reviews new books and literature and publishes both accessible and cutting-edge political articles.

Aside from these generalizations, many countries pointed to specific trends and developments, ones, however, that may apply more generally. Here are some.

- There is a movement from traditional topics like history, political institutions, constitutionalism and law, and political philosophy to new fields such as empirical, structural analysis, positivistic, anti-normative, and advanced statistical methods, surveys, public policies, elite analysis and the new historical sociology of politics. (Turkey, Italy, France). In Germany, classes on methodology and statistics are the norm in core political science departments and a Working Group on Empirical Methods has been started in the PSA. At the same time, some of the former Soviet countries lament of their weakness in methodology, political economy, and philosophy and that many political scientists are still “playing with theories. They take the ones that are available”. (e.g. Czech Republic, Lithuania).

- More money is being made available to research networks in Italy.

- For some countries such as Germany it has become increasingly difficult to obtain funds for individual research, as the number of competitors has grown and budgets have not gone up. With the government pushing privatization in Finland, universities will be expected to raise their own research from the private sector.

- On the other end of the spectrum, in the major Germany funding councils, universities are expected to cooperate in integrated, inter-disciplinary, long-range research programs.

- Networks of specialized sub-groups provide crucial links to non-academic interested parties and stronger focus on career progression according to the UK. The U.S. adds that, despite concerns about fragmentation, sub-fields allow emergent interests to develop naturally. Collaborative work is on the increase with 154 journals, 39 organized sections (work groups, research committees) of the APSA, and innumerable small specialty ones, “There is at the same time both great diversity and an active array of integrating and networking institutions (Brintnall, Affigne, Pinderhughes: 14).”

- There are increasing numbers of public and private research institutes, consultancies, and think tanks in Turkey and Argentina,

- Sometimes there are generational gaps in Japan with the younger political scientists tending more to political process and also signs of greater research diversification.

- The Koreans note that as political science becomes more complex, scholars are tending to focus on narrower and more specific sub-fields.

- Some countries like Argentina refer to specific research achievements such as Guillermo O’Donnell’s definition of the “bureaucratic-authoritarian state” as part of the analysis of the transition from military dictatorship to democracy. The “Comparative Study of Electoral Systems” at the Australian National University coordinates 50 national election studies around the world that also led to the “Democratic Audit”. There is also a summer school on quantitative and qualitative methods. Similarly, Japanese Electoral Studies since 1983 have led to new multiple waves of panel studies for detailed records of how voters responded to a succession of rapid changes. Several countries mentioned their participation in the Global Barometer Survey to generate world wide data on democracy, prosperity and human security – along with the Asia barometer which has more micro data on life patterns, values and attitudes. The Americans see areas of novelty in experimental approaches, rational choice theories, and diversified quantitative and qualitative approaches.

- Unique advances in Japan include two major surveys of elites, targeting national candidates’ attitudes and getting 90 percent response rates by collaborating with the media and publishing the results nationally. Another use of specialization are outstanding micro-empirical studies based on intricate interpretation (not just content analysis) of texts and materials on relatively narrow topics, not just for a bird’s eye view of issues but as a building block for a deeper understanding (Taniguchi:13).

A recent APSA study of major fields of political science research in the United States showed that 38% worked on American politics, 37% comparative, 30% international relations, 17% political theory or philosophy, 10% public law and 10% methodology. Many more junior women choose comparative than men (Brintnall, Affigne, Pinderhughes: 12).

- In Africa in the 1960s-80s, the research focus was largely on the nature of the post-colonial state with such topics as development/underdevelopment, civil-military relations, one-party states and ethnic conflict. Since about 1989 political science research has shifted along with global trends to democratization, parties, Islamic movements, constitutionalism, elections, regional conflicts, civil society, women, human rights and poverty. “The question today is whether Africa is democratizing or experiencing reversal? … Political scientists are playing an active role in showing the value of democracy … Scholars ask how civil society, the state and the military facilitate or impede democracy …One-party dominance remains a key challenge … Constitutions are being engineered for political succession … Parties (aside from ruling ones) have generally been weak and constrained by a lack of resources … with a tendency to fragment and to mobilize along narrow ethnic lines or around a founder patron (Sebudubudu: 2-4). Political scientists are writing about the quality of elections, the role of parliaments and their failure to be a check on the executive, political instability, and the study of former presidents and their legacy of power.

2.3.5 The Status of Political Science: In their texts a number of the national studies offered summary, overview statements directing our attention to specific developments or trends in political science that I call “the status” of the discipline. They offer a sort of bird’s eye view of where political science stands both in our own estimation but also that of others. While specifically referring to one country, they often speak to the whole discipline

Africa: There has been a considerable production of research. African political scientists are demanding better and better standards of work.

Argentina: The presence of political analysts in public and private areas has given higher public recognition to the profession. “Many are asked for their opinions about issues – it doesn’t mean they will be listened to… But they commonly warn of serious consequences (Fernandez: 7)”.

Belgium: Good productivity despite fragmentation – “the Belgium miracle”.

Brazil: “The current state of international relations in Brazil is characterized by outstanding development, increased consolidation, diversity of research topics, and theoretical approaches (Pinheiro: 6)”.

Canada: “Canada has come of age and achieved considerable sophistication (Johnston: 7).”

Finland: “With political science in a small community, there is neither theoretical nor methodological core, nor does it imitate any ‘intellectual centre’ any more … It is Europeanized (ECPR) and globalized (world wide references)(Berndtson: 5) … But haphazard … not enough scholars to cover all relevant areas … No real continuity or growth … (p.12)

France: Despite criticism of parochialism, there is an increased internationalization of collaboration: importation of analytical frameworks; foreign training of students and participation in international conferences; increased (but still weak) ECPR participation; and international groupings of research centres, “Is this internationalization the unshackling of French political science or the perverse effects of globalization or joining the mainstream (Déloye & Mayer: 14) … without necessarily provoking the dreaded leveling but being entirely compatible with its claim to intellectual uniqueness … (p.17)” … All the more so because France now has well entrenched institutions, independent recruitment, teaching and research, professionalization of the discipline and epistemological maturity.

Germany: “The absence of a clear professional profile for political science degrees may be turning out to be an advantage. The graduates are usually trained as “generalists” (B.A., M.A.). They are flexible and innovative and equipped with professional knowledge and skills of communication and information and a background of diversity and quality of research (Schuttemeyer: 19).”

Korea: Diversification of research topics continues. Publications have increased – also in the media.

Lithuania: In general, the market for deep and serious academic research in Lithuania is very small … it is very difficult to get private funding … The majority of research institutes survive because of state contracts or EU research projects.

Singapore: Since 2000 there has been a deliberate attempt to up-grade the department of political science at the National University of Singapore as a “global university” – with global recruitment, publishing, emphasis on theoretical and conceptual training, high quality research and teaching and a focus on four sub-fields of comparative politics, international relations, public administration and political theory (Lee & Singh: 2).

Turkey: As our universities grow and Turkey becomes a more prominent regional actor, we expect political science to grow.

United Kingdom: “The level of knowledge and interaction between academics and policy-makers is strong as a result of growing reliance of government on evidence-based policy (Harrison & Saez: 16).”

United States: Since the burst of intellectual developments in the 1960s and 70s, it has been said that U.S. political science has been “marking time” with a productive, perhaps essential, but not necessarily transforming period of “normal science”. “But an advanced academic community cannot be judged today by single great works or captivating insights. It is to be understood more by complex scholarly networks and a more diverse and inclusive professoriate (Brintnall, Affigne, Pinderhughes: 8).

2.4 Some Recent Trends

Some examples of trends drawn from a small number of countries provide information for the whole discipline.

Small Countries: Finland has been teaching political science since the 1920s and was the fourth country to establish a political science association in 1935. Lithuania has only been teaching the subject since the 1990s. And yet both the problems they face and their fears for the future exhibit many similarities. For the most part they stem from the structural conditions of very small countries. The first problem is fragmentation: by philosophical approach, by quantitative/ qualitative divisions, and by ever-narrowing specialization. But the principle cause of the isolation of political science is because of the separation of international relations and public administration. Increasingly, “these two fields see their work lying outside political science proper (Berndtson: 9).” Both countries fear that increased internationalization may only lead to further specialization and fragmentation.

In Finland, despite a professional orientation toward quantitative analysis, “most students want to use qualitative methods (p. 4)”. In Lithuania, they call it the “enthusiastic reception of post-modern ideas.” This is compounded by the fact most professors in Lithuania still come from different backgrounds and, because of its newness, work tends to be descriptive and case (national) oriented and methodological education is weak. In neither country is there a methodological or theoretical core to the discipline. Despite the number of students there are insufficient funds for professors or for research and many positions are impermanent. “One of the problems of a small science community is that there are not enough scholars to study all the relevant areas continuously and extensively …there has been no real continuity and growth of knowledge (Berndtson:12)”. The Lithuanian authors call it, “One person – one field (p. 11)”. Most of the scattered departments are obliged to concentrate on teaching. To make matters worse in Finland, research funding is all about incessant, competitive search for funds and a complete lack of funding continuity. In both small countries, most research institutes are based on international relations and foreign policy -- often linked to the government.

The bright spot for Finland – and a way for small countries to surmount their difficulties – is a focus on a number of major research projects, the first three funded by the Academy of Finland as Centres of Excellence. They are

  • Political Thought and Conceptual Change
  • Global Governance Research
  • Public Choice Research
  • Power in Finland
  • Democracy: A Citizen Perspective

As summarized by Berndtson, “These projects cover issues such as the study of political thought and concepts, gender studies, public choice, decision-making, the EU, globalization, new forms of democracy , elections, market regimes, and media and politics that are illustrative of the range of areas studied in Finland. They also illustrate the mainstream and non-mainstream divisions. Empirically oriented scholars have not always considered philosophically oriented scholars, feminist political theorists, or those advocating models of participatory democracy as real political scientists. On the other hand, empirically oriented political scientists have been accused of dull, conservative and pseudo-scientific research (p. 14).”

The United States: The world still looks to American political science for its great size and production and often trend-setting leadership. This was certainly the case of the “canonical works of the late 1950s through the 1970s” including those of Almond and Verba, Campbell, Converse, Dahrendorf, Miller and Stokes, Dahl, Deutsch, Downs, Easton, Huntington, Key, Lane, Lindblom, Lipset, Moore, Neustadt and Olson (Brintnall, Affigne, Pinderhughes: 8).” These authors now point to the “change and diversification” in American political science in the more recent decades. As evidence they point to the newest organized sections (1995-2008) of the American Political Science Association (APSA) of which the section on Qualitative and Multi-methods is now the third-largest in the entire Association.

  • Race, Ethnicity and Politics
  • International History and Politics
  • Comparative Democratization
  • Human Rights
  • Qualitative and Multi-Methods Research
  • Sexuality and Politics
  • Health Politics and Policy (p. 16)

The authors foresee new directions, developments and trends: in feminist theory, the study of identity, the integration of theoretical and empirical models, experimental methods, long-term data sets, sexuality and politics, health politics, and qualitative methods (p. 18).

Looking further in their crystal ball, the authors of the American paper wonder if political science is paying the price of academic freedom and tenure in the increasing risk of scholasticism and detachment from practical politics. They foresee, “New models for linking scholarship and policy and enhancing the public presence of political science research are being sought. The APSA Annual Task Forces focus on what political science has to say about important political issues. Think tanks with more targeted focus are emerging. The internet is opening up more scholarship to public access … We can anticipate that the discipline will grow in its awareness and attention to public issues, and research will become more policy focused (p. 19).”

The least one can say is that the world is unaware of developments in the United States. While other countries are trying desperately to catch up with American scholarly, quantitative empiricism, the Americans appear to be moving on to publicly-oriented, qualitative and multi-methods research.

Canada: As a model of a middle-sized political science community, Canada demonstrates the utility of long-term research concentration and specialization. Current research trends, like elsewhere, are gender and sexuality and public policy analysis, but especially diversity and multiculturalism. Despite Canada being a somewhat special “deviant case”, Canadian research and expertise on diversity, trust and welfare seem relevant to others. It is also a critical case for the study of aboriginality. Also, in the field of elections studies, since its first Canada Election Study in 1965, Canada now has 12 of them in the data bank. The Canadian research community data sets are in multi-country studies and the post-1988 Canadian model has been adopted for the national studies of other countries. Canadian researchers also work on the World Values Survey, the International Social Survey Program and the Equality, Security and Community Survey (Johnston: 7).

2.5 Problems and Critiques of Political Science

Our authors have not just spent their time describing the discipline and lavishing praise on it. They have also made serious criticisms of political science and laid out an abundance of problems. If there is a certain homogeneity to the critique it is probably because as the Italian authors claim, “Due to the current context we are forced to face a more demanding, increasingly competitive environment largely created by globalization, international mobility and European integration (Capano & Verzichelli: 4).” While it may seem strange, the analogy that comes to mind in surveying the criticisms is that of treating the discipline like a nation-state. Like nationalists, our authors deplore the lack of unity and the incapacity for effective (self-) representation.

2.5.1 Fragmentation: In political science terms, this means that almost all the country studies mention the problem of “fragmentation”. It takes a number of forms. There is the traditional problem of the struggle between the various different ‘schools’ or approaches to the discipline. Also, in multicultural countries, there are problems of cohesion and communication between scholars of different language, ethnic and racial communities --- often leading also to smaller, more isolated and less productive departments. But, probably the strongest criticism is against the never-ending, excessive specialization within the discipline that, as the Germans point out, leads to non-communicability between sub-fields which, in turn, leads to distorted communications which prevents cumulation within the discipline. Then there is the growing separation of political science from the fields of international relations and public administration (and several others) which have often created their own departments and associations. As several authors have intimated, the logic of political science does not stop at the borders of states or the ante-chambers of government. A further division is between what some call “mainstream” empirical/quantitative political scientists and those who are of a qualitative/ institutional/ philosophical persuasion. All of which spawns isolation within the discipline and a lack of debate and overview. As Gabriel Almond argued a number of years ago, we have a problem of “separated tables” in political science characterized by little theoretical debate between scholars of different positions and approaches. There are now newer forms of cleavage, even polarization, between public and private universities, between generations, between centre and periphery, between the English language and all others, and between different national education systems. Fractionalization in Japan is said to lead to too narrow a focus when researchers should be more daring and adventurous in their assumptions and conceptualizations (p. 13). Marian Sawer of Australia thinks, “Something is being lost as political science becomes increasingly specialized and oriented to international communities of scholars rather than toward informing debate at home (p. 7)”.

2.5.2 Representation of Political Science: The second set of problems converges on the weak capacity for representation of the discipline to the outside world. Often, as shorthand, it is called a “lack of visibility”. In France, “Political scientists suffer from a relative lack of visibility in comparison to economics, sociology, history and psychology. Few can be considered public intellectuals (p. 23).” Again, this problem has a number of components. A great deal of the disunity within the discipline is caused by the various forms of fragmentation just discussed. For its particular reasons, France may be losing its research “coherence”. However, in his overview report of political science in Asia, Pacific and Africa, Hideo Otake points to “The widening gap between public expectations and scholarly interest is one of the most serious problems in this region (p. 3).” The reasons are that, for career development, many political scientists have opted for public administration or international relations; others are attracted to American academia and adopt methodology and theoretical frameworks suitable for U.S. publications. They retreat from domestic political debate. But the lack of participation in public debates is generalized in the discipline because of our ‘scientific’ pretensions.

We are also sidelined, according to Poland, because real problems require an inter-disciplinary approach. Similarly, we need to be more open to the pluralism in theoretical choices and research instruments. Both these moves would enhance our academic status (p.13). The gap with the public is augmented because we are not helping citizens. “Political actors and political scientists are contributing few solutions for the excluded people of Argentina’s dual society (Fernandez: 7).” German higher education still discriminates disproportionately against children of the lower classes (p. 5). Finland complains of political science being in isolation. In Russia, Ilyin and Malinova specify that, “Empirical evidence suggests that there is still little practical application of the academic achievements of political science to politics, the media, consultants, to the democratic process, and to the forecast of economic and political development (p. 13).” They go on to say there are lots of problems of connections between political scientists and politicians, of which the chief one is the transformation of the field of study. Changes in the Russian political system have led to a reduction of electoral politics (p. 9).

Although Klingemann specifies that national political science associations have successfully fought many battles in support of academic freedom and research funding, he summarizes four reasons political science is ill-prepared for the representation of its interests on the broader European scale. First, there is the “identity problem” resulting from the Bologna process bringing up once again discussions about the nature of political science and its core elements. Second, the problem of specialization and differentiation into sub-fields like IR is counterproductive for interest representation, Third (no fault of political science) the country-specific education systems make fact gathering and comparison very difficult. Fourth, the discipline does not speak with a common voice. These problems can be generalized to most political science communities, nationally and internationally. Perhaps governments perceive the weaknesses in our disciplines and are taking their own measures to shore up the “competitiveness” of university research programs through evaluations and enforced coordination.

These two generalized types of criticism of political science do not exhaust the number of problems elaborated by our authors. Strong and repeated reference was made to the low number of women and minorities in the profession; and to the temporary contracts and low levels of job opportunities, pay, financial resources and department staffing that bedevil young political scientists and the development of the discipline. In a number of countries there is a fear of parochialism. But this is balanced in new political science communities by a call for indigenization of the discipline. “Koreans tried to follow changes in American theoretical literature … but independent and creative efforts to modify the models to Korean circumstances were scant. Nor were there attempts to build indigenous models that incorporate the characteristics of Korean social and political development (Lee & Kim: 7).” The Russians spoke for most of the post-Communist political scientists when they proclaimed, “There is a problem of a gap between “Western” theories and Russian reality (Ilyin & Malinova: 8).”

2.6 Nature of the Discipline: Definition, Boundaries, Profession, Content

A number of recent changes have brought renewed interest in debates about the future of the discipline. Internationalization, Europeanization, new political science communities and changing government policies on higher education and research – all of which have combined to put back on the table some of the basic questions about political science. These include such issues as the definition of political science and its scope, the meaning of professionalism and the scientific method.

2.6.1 Definitions: The British paper reminds us that in the United Kingdom the discipline is called “political studies” and not “political science”. Norman Chester (1975), one of the founders in the U.K., relates that this choice was made “due to the failure of any central core of concepts and learning to emerge”. Further, there was “a continuing preference for methodological pluralism” and the term “studies” was a wider umbrella” that could include political history, international relations and interdisciplinary research (Harrison & Saez:1, 6, 20). However, the British authors state that they now “have much greater confidence in the value of the label political science” (p. 20). The Lithuanians have come up with the interesting term of “politology” which has now spread to other former Soviet countries (p.2).

Klingeman accepts David Easton’s (via Max Webber) definition of the aim of political science as a better understanding of “the way in which decisions for a society are made and considered binding most of the time by most of the people (374)” He claims various epistemological approaches such as the quantitative/analytical and historical/hermeneutics make distinct contributions to this goal. Governments remain very practical in their definitions. In Italy and Russia the field is officially defined as political science by the authorities. But in Italy they still have to struggle for recognition against the “baronial faculties” of public law, juridical philosophy and history which have always claimed part of the study of politics – hence the pluralism of “political sciences”. In Lithuania, a political scientist is defined as a person who has graduated with any level of political science degree and/or conducts research, publishes or teaches in the field (Lithuania: 4). Arturo Fernandez of Argentina takes the bull by the horns in maintaining that political science must have normative aims. Scientific knowledge is the progressive discovery of the objective laws which regulate nature and society, he says. “Power and its forms are studied to criticize their abuses and to make changes or, otherwise, to be justified or falsified. There was not and there will not be a neutral or objective political science … especially in the 21st century which is meant to lead to the right of every human being to live in a free and fair society (p. 9)”.

As far as scope is concerned, Pinheiro of Brazil, in her paper on international relations, maintains that those who are seeking “to create a greater epistemological distinction between IR and political science … are creating a straw man in their drive for institutional consolidation . I stress we should not adopt isolationist policies (p.17). Klingemann is even more direct, “International relations we count as a subfield of political science at large (385).”

The Lithuanian paper cites Goodwin and Klingemann (1996) that “the image of a discipline is closely associated with “order maintenance” or supervision both over those working within it and, most essentially, over those aspiring to do so (1996: 5). A necessary prerequisite is the existence of a professional community whose members share self-imposed standards and norms into which incoming members are socialized. The Polish paper adds that a discipline requires a defined subject, research instruments and procedures, and scientific criteria. For the Italians, the status of a discipline depends on its origins, resources, credibility, visibility, students and public perceptions (Elzinga 1987, Becher & Kogan 1992). The new political science communities test themselves vigorously and rigorously against such lists of criteria and, for the most part find that the preconditions of existence seem well established and there is sporadic boundary maintenance (e.g. by the PSA), a growing academic identity, and the beginning of methodological discussions. But there are still debates over the scientific criteria and the imposition of standards. The Germans find there are indicators the discipline is being understood more as a science than an art.

2.6.2 Professionalism and Epistemology: Richard Rose (1990) pointed out that the pioneers of political science were of necessity amateurs or probably professionals in other fields like law, history or philosophy. Nevertheless, Klingemann states political science has become a collective enterprise, a profession with well-defined standards for training and employment, based institutionally on national university systems (374). Throughout Europe there has been integration into the “mainstream”. But, eventually, all professions can lead to a backlash. Political science in the United States has faced allegations of “monolithism, scientism and detachment”. In part, the paper by the American authors is an attempt to respond by demonstrating recent examples of political engagement and new publications on civic engagement. Perhaps most intriguing for the international political science community, was the articulation in a 2003 report, by scholars of very different approaches, of a common framework for graduate education. The following principles are among those affirmed in the APSA Report on Graduate Education in Political Science:

  • The exploration of how far politics can help explain human experiences and help resolve human difficulties is one of the primary tasks of intellectual life …
  • Political scientists must seek to analyze politics in the most intellectually honest and rigorous ways they can attain …
  • The complex subject matter of politics must be studied using many methods.
  • Studies of ethical norms and normative commitments, including those in our own work, are central to the study of politics.
  • The discipline today must address a diverse range of long-neglected subjects, including the political experience of traditionally marginal groups…
  • It is essential for political scientists to be able to communicate clearly to each other and to broader publics why and how the aspects of politics they are studying are helping us to achieve improved understanding of human life.

This is a great leap forward from “scientific knowledge for the sake of knowledge”.

One of the most sustained comments on the present state of the discipline came from Seraphin Seferiades of Greece. He took as a starting point Giovanni Sartori’s 1970s attempt to define politics as the distinct sphere of the state and other institutions of governance as well as juridical-constitutional enforceability. The scientist or student of politics also has an autonomous domain characterized by special language and methodologies. Instead, according to Seferiades, politics is the victim of causal reductionism, an epiphenomenon, the perennial independent variable, merely a result—when it should be the source of a multitude of causal linkages emanating from politics. The autonomous field of politics remains underspecified and feeble. But institutional arrangement and political action do have massive causal significance.

The second problem, again according to Seferiades, is with the students of politics who apply quantitative methodology, a mathematised scientism that has adopted the external features of precise natural sciences, but only to pervert them and itself – a science only in name, a logical and conceptual morass. But, political studies can be a qualitatively different science grounded in logos including valid reasoning, disciplined specialized language, a ladder of abstraction and adequate definitions and classifications. Above all there must be consistent tackling of causality on the basis of ‘if—then’ statements and necessary and sufficient conditions. Political science would thus be capable of depicting and explaining behavioral regularities, formulating and validating theory, and interfering in the practical world for purposes of changing it.

2.7 Proposals for Enhancing Political Science -- 2008

Several authors went beyond description and criticism to make proposals for the improvement of political science. In the following list, the name of the person or country will refer to all the following proposals until a new name is introduced.

Overviews of international regions:

  1. Hideo Otake: There was unanimous opinion from the floor that mainland China should be encouraged to join the IPSA.
  2. Wyn Grant: It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the domestic and the international, so is the bifurcation of the discipline between international relations and political science sensible?
  3. There are opportunities created by increased funding and academic openness for interdisciplinary cooperation with all scientific disciplines.
  4. We should reconcile a commitment to methodological pluralism with a ‘controlled eclecticism’ by accepting social constructivist approaches popular among younger researchers without allowing it to develop into a methodological or generational divide.
  5. There is a need to develop relations between political scientists and the ‘political class’ that is constructively critical and engaged but autonomous.
  6. Max Kasse: There was a common, implicit notion of path dependency in the sense that the development of political science was and continues to be influenced by institutional, social and not least the cultural/intellectual conditions prevalent in the various countries.
  7. Concerns not addressed: How the discipline should deal with the transformation of universities from elite to mass education institutions; pressures for publication in peer-reviewed journals, especially English-language ones; finding adequate research funding; and how to produce cumulative knowledge in an increasingly ‘pluralistic’ discipline?
  8. Hans-Dieter Klingemann: The Bologna process must extend to the M.A and Ph.D. levels.
  9. We need better data sets on political science infrastructure and institutionalization including staff, students, journals, data-sets, and associations.
  10. Political science in Central and Eastern Europe must come to grips with the legacy from Communist times.
  11. Japan: Reactivate interaction between isolated, fractionalized subfields via broader perspectives in the M.A. curricula.
  12. Promote interaction with global counterparts and publicize important works on domestic politics. Participate in long term international studies.
  13. Avoid competition solely based on citation indexes in English journals.
  14. Allow young colleagues to open up new frontiers in the discipline to attract them to academic careers when growth in professorships is limited.
  15. Korea: There is a need to focus more on explanatory than descriptive studies if there is to be a ‘Koreanization’ of political science theories.
  16. U.S. Americans need to put greater focus on the inter-connection of issues associated with the deep structures of American political life: race, gender, class and sexuality
  17. There should be a shift in institutional structures to bring scholars and disciplines together in new ways such as cross-disciplinary and policy-oriented research centres.
  18. There has been a great growth in long-term data sets on everything from ethnic riots in India to dynamics of political rhetoric. The American paper also proclaims, “We can expect no dominant framework or paradigm that lends intellectual coherence (p.18).” But, in this context, we may well wonder where integration, overviews and political science generalizations will come from?
  19. Argentina: Political theory needs to focus more on local, regional and global issues rather than just national ones.
  20. There is a need for more research centres including one to promote political science debate.
  21. Political scientists must not repeat the errors of the past by misunderstanding local reality while studying foreign issues.
  22. Political scientists must understand the social needs of their time.
  23. Germany: A systematic gathering of data on curricula should be started.
  24. There is good reason to strive for the creation of a single European political science association.
  25. Russia: to develop the discipline in Russia there must be a move from elite to general university education and improve media public relations.
  26. To solidify key sub-fields and surmount present tendencies to be a ‘generation of translators”, Russia requires centres and leaders, international research networks, a critical mass of scholars, and sub-fields must be included in university courses with the development of texts and readers – “teaching normalizes fields” (p. 9).
  27. Greece: Highlight the multitude of causal links emanating from politics.

2.8 Explaining the Development of Political Science

Research Committee 33 is working to put together a model for the analysis of the development of political science. We endeavour to use the standard research tools of the discipline. We start with our observations and data gathering concerning the current orientations in the discipline from several angles (advances, trends, problems, criticisms, boundary analysis etc.). Over time we add theory building (e.g. the Book Series on the World of Political Science and the Easton, Gunnell & Stein volume on Political Science and Democracy). An important intermediate step is seeking the factors that explain the state of development of the discipline and its current orientations. Fortunately, the national papers[1] devoted considerable thought to delineating both explicitly and implicitly what they considered to be the explanatory variables and it is to these we now turn. These propositions are so numerous and rich that they could be a source for eventual theory. Here we will just make a preliminary attempt at categorization. Although the categories will inevitably contain overlaps (e.g. funding factors are also economic and domestic) they will serve to highlight many of the principle influences on the development of political science.

First, let me make a preliminary warning. At the Harvard Convocation of 1988, the Mexican poet and diplomat, Carlos Fuentes, recounted a story about some business travelers urgently trying to arrive at the city of Oaxaca. They stopped their car beside a peasant and asked him how far it was to the city. He replied that if they had started out at dawn they would already be there. The point of his story was to remind North Americans that not all countries “start out” at the same time. Not all of them have the same sort or level of development. So it is with political science communities. Although I will be treating this elaboration of factors affecting the development of the discipline as thought they refer to all countries, we must remember that they do so in different ways and to different degrees. For instance the most outstanding development and growth in political science in recent decades has occurred in Central and Eastern Europe, but it is clear we cannot yet expect these countries to have an easy rapport, for instance, with their political regimes or education systems.

2.8.1 International Influences: Influences on political science from the international system come in different shapes and sizes. The end of authoritarian regimes can be liberating as Singapore found with the end of British colonialism or Lithuania with the fall of Communism. “The emergence of political science as an academic discipline in Lithuania starts only in 1989-91after independence from 45 years of rule by the Soviet Union (p.1).[2] But they may also come from changes in the international system such as globalization, the formation of the European Union and the end of the Cold War. Globalization meant more international mobility of personnel, research, conferences and communications all of which had a homogenizing impact on the discipline. Of course, globalization did not have a unique impact. “The democratization of Korea since the late 1980s, the collapse of the Cold war, globalization and the maturing economy led to the rapid expansion of the political science community and associations (p. 8). Klingemann reports that the sprouting network of cooperation between political and other social scientists in Europe has been supported by the European Union. The Socrates program helped launch many thematic networks, the EU Commission’s framework programs have become a major source of research funding, and Jean Monnet Chairs have been granted to many political science departments and research institutes. Their number increased from 46 in 1990 to 623 in 2005 (p. 382).

But even more specific international changes can have an impact. The Brazil paper found that, “The multilateralization of the world from the 1970s onwards enlarged the possibilities for new international agendas for peripheral and developing countries and some academics turned their interest to international relations (p. 4).” In Australia, a large influx of fee-paying foreign students from neighbouring countries and islands made up 42% of students by 2007 moving political science further toward international relations, the largest undergraduate courses. As we saw, the U.S. reported that one fifth of its PH.D. students – and therefore departmental revenues – were foreigners. Another huge international impact on the discipline came from immigrants. It is well known that some of the most significant political scientists who built the discipline in the United States and Canada were exiles from Europe. Now Klingemann tells us, “The process of professionalization of political science in Europe is a post-World War II phenomenon … much aided by immigrants returning to Europe from exile (p. 374). Finally, but certainly not least, political science is created and recreated by research models and theories that move around the world – helped by globalization and its attendant changes in the technology of transport and communication. We have seen that German studies strongly influenced the U.S., while British examples were transported to Japan and Commonwealth countries. Every country reports the formative influence of American political science since the 1960s and 70s and since. The Australian paper reports that intellectual influences from the external environment started with British institutionalism and continued with the Michigan School of public opinion and electoral surveys. In the 1960s and 1970s it was the turn of radical political science: Marxists, feminists and political discourse. In the 1990s, John Dryzek’s deliberative democracy made a big hit.

2.8.2 Domestic factors impacting political science: To start with, there appears to be virtually unanimous agreement that democracy and political science go hand- in-hand. As early as 1971, W.J.M. Mackenzie intoned, “Political science cannot develop except in certain limited intellectual and social conditions. There must be an established practice of debate based on analysis and observation, and it must be accepted that there exists political questions open to settlement by argument rather than by tradition or authority. In this sense, political science is conditioned by political society.” Easton, Gunnell and Stein (1995) devoted an entire book to analyzing the relationship. Sam Huntington (1988) put it in summary fashion: “Where democracy is strong, political science is strong; where it is weak, political science is weak.” Most of the papers at the Montreal Conference attested to the same relationship. For instance, in pre- World War II Japan there was a lack of academic freedom and restrictions were imposed on political science (p. 2). The Korea of President Park Chung-Hee preferred public administration and international relations to the “agitation” of political science and so made independent fields of them. “Rapid industrialization, oppressed free-academic activities, and ideological conflict with North Korea had a counter-intuitive and ironical effect in that until recently the study of Korean politics was neglected … Also there was a monopoly of data by intelligence agencies (p.7).”

Of course, the relationship between regime and discipline is not that simple. After all, politicians are the very alive and lively subjects of our study. Many country studies underlined the continuing influence of political dynamics and political forces. From the start, political forces can see the use of political studies for their own ends. Just as the Protestant German states wanted political studies in universities to educate the population for the new religion, so, “When Singapore became independent in 1959 the new ruling elites saw the need for political science to teach the local population on political development (p.1)”. Russia sees a very direct relationship between public interest in a field leading to political demands and higher level pressures for non-scientific forms of knowledge and thence the flow of additional resources for political science (p.7). In Canada the relationship is more complex and cyclical in determining the infrastructure of the discipline. “The ebb and flow of money and recruitment reflected domestic political pressures, and international intellectual trends (p.4). Mixed in with these two influences were federal-provincial relations, university policies and economic conditions. Absolutely fundamental to the health of political science, however, is the financial base provided by the research councils – which, in turn, reflected political willingness. A very different relationship is reflected by Taiwan’s recent experience which directly affects the content of the discipline. “Serious conflict between government and opposition since 1994 weakened government’s capability to perform well and is the reason why so many political scientists concentrated on conflict, change and political process. Taiwan’s experience with the traditional concept of sovereignty in the confrontation with mainland China may be the reason so many political scientists pay attention to conflict and cooperation (p.4).” Political structure and policies also have an effect. “The establishment of local government since 1991 in Korea has promoted interest in Korean political processes. Korean trade and globalization have promoted area studies (p.14).” And in Brazil, “the research agenda is very much a result of the political agenda. Brazilian foreign policy is still the most chosen topic of study in IR (p.14).”

2.8.3 The Economy and Political Science: Klingemann (2008) prescribes three contextual preconditions that accompanied professional and institutional development of political science in Western Europe: democratization, prosperity and the Bologna Process. With regard to economic conditions he writes, “In the 1960s and 1970s, growing Western European prosperity, the need for an academically trained workforce, and a demand for equal access to higher education led to the broadening of old and the building of new universities. These economic, social and political changes … helped to establish political science (p. 373).” We have just seen that economic growth accompanied each wave of expansion of the discipline in Canada. On the other side of the world, the Koreans found that the rapidly maturing national economy led to the rapid expansion of the political science community. More specifically, they state that “The rapid rise of the middle class means Marxist critiques have given way to mainstream, Western capitalist political economy (p.14).” So we see that economic conditions not only have an effect on the institutionalization of political science but also its content.

2.8.4 Academic Funding: While the funding of research and universities is an economic function, it deserves to be a specific topic because of its importance to our discipline. Many studies mentioned the impact of funding but no where is it as significant as in the United States. It starts with universities which in most countries appear to be a sort of intermediary variable for academic disciplines – as universities thrive so do the sciences and humanities. “Intellectual independence and social reform found a home together in largely utilitarian institutions… (Brintnall, Affigne, Pinderhughes: 2).” The oldest and usually wealthiest institutions are privately held, often with religious roots. They were supplemented from the 1860s by “land-grant” universities that enjoyed federal government support. “Political science varies substantially within these types of institution, but it is also through them that the discipline has grown within the nation (p.3).” This point is made by Klingemann for Europe and is repeated either explicitly or implicitly in the other papers. One significant difference is with regard to the relative independence of universities in English-speaking countries which come under government purview in most other countries.

The funding trajectory of research in the U.S. was marked by two largely independent forces: the singular role of private foundations and the intense national government investments in science policy. One of the earliest foundations, Rockefeller, fuelled major transformations in social science by shifting funding from “good works” to the development of knowledge; by making possible the birth of the Social Science Research Council; and by sponsoring the development of political theory (p.6, Bulmer 2001:32, Fleishman 2007). The impact of foundations has not been limited to the United States. As Sasinska-Klas notes in the Polish paper, “An increasing number of visiting professors and researchers participate in exchange programs, including scholarships offered by such foundations as Fulbright, Mellon, Kosciuszko, NATO Fellowship Program, Humbolt Stiftung, Bosch Stiftung, Ebert Stiftung, Socrates/Erasmus Teaching Mobility Exchange etc. lead to the standardization of education in political science… (p.8).” Due to World War II and the Cold War, U.S. government funding stimulated the growth of higher education across the board and formally embraced social and behavioral science, political science research, doctoral training and data development. “It took an enabling orientation – different from those of many European and Asian countries – emphasizing individual control of knowledge and ethics maintained by professional communities rather than organizational control and bureaucratic oversight (p.6).”

As an example of government overview, in Poland, aside from the Bologna Process, the National Accreditation Commission has had a considerable impact by assessing the quality of political science teaching in all universities according to international standards. However, overview institutions are popping up everywhere. In Australia, funders’ demands for indicators of research quality have promoted publication, downplayed Australian foreign comparative studies, and internationalized specialist groups.

2.8.5 Intellectual Influences on Political Science Development: So what about the “within puts” – how do political scientists develop their own discipline? To start at the beginning, where do political scientists come from when you start from scratch? The Czech Republic and Russia tell us they come from other disciplines – history, law, sociology, philosophy, area studies – and then are self-educated for years through international linkages and translations of classical works. A few are foreigners and visitors. Then there is the new generation which is freer from the legacy of official dogmatism and more open to empiricism, integration into international networks and the requirement of publication. During the establishment of a discipline the influence of leading scholars can be decisive. In Japan in the 1980s three of the leading political scientists (Inoguchi, Otake, Muramatsu, joined later by Kabashima and Fukui) founded the journal Leviathan to push their colleagues in the direction of empirical, scientific studies, free from any specific values. In 2004 Inoguchi and Kabashima launched a second journal, Nihon Seiji Kenkyu (Japanese Political Studies) to draw their colleagues towards theoretical as well as empirical studies and historical as well as current political interests. Rather than being contradictory, the combined aims of the two journals was to “create a movement” “to encourage diverse approaches” to develop Japanese political science (Taniguchi: 4). In Canada it was the same story with a dozen remarkable scholar/educators literally creating the field before their “progeny” came of age, added some foreign degrees and went on to entrench the discipline. The Japanese have also concluded that to establish a new sub-field in political science it takes “outstanding pioneer research, outstanding educators and institutional infrastructures (p.9).”

The authors of the American and Italian papers made extraordinary efforts to unravel the explanatory factors affecting the discipline in their countries. Both papers heavily emphasized the intellectual variables – although, as we shall see – for the opposite reasons. In introducing their paper, Brintnall, Affigne and Pinderhughes specify the influences shaping the growth of political science in the United States that they will analyze: intellectual origins, the university system, national and cultural trends, the funding system, the breadth of the academic enterprise, and intellectual and institutional actions on their own merit. All of these are in or near the intellectual category, that is, internal academic influences of the discipline as opposed to external political, economic, social, cultural or educational ones. After discussing the historical academic influences and the educational and financial institutional factors, the authors describe theirs as a “bottom up” discipline. The political science enterprise in the U.S., they say, has remarkable corrective powers “marked by periods of intense conflict and institutional change … that parallel and draw energy from changes in society at large (p.9).” As examples they refer to the feminist and black movements that built caucuses, provided mutual support, exposed discrimination, and advocated and created opportunities for change through the APSA with its Organized Sections and official journals. Usually the caucuses outside the American Political Science Association were eventually complement by official committees within as in the more recent case of the “Perestroika movement” (Monroe 2005) that called for new methodological and intellectual frameworks and the limiting of “gatekeeping” barriers to scholarly reform. Eventually the movement was absorbed by the APSA founding a new peak journal Perspectives on Politics, changing leadership selection processes, and developing new principles for graduate education.

It is clear that in the past great contributions were made by the early “canonical” scholars of political science, from Almond and Verba to Campbell and Converse and from Dahl and Easton to Deutsch and Lipset, these individual contributions are less likely today. The point the authors wish to make is that in American political science today, “the intellectual transformations are institutional ones (p.9).” As an example, they list the array of institutions of which the “breadth of the academic enterprise” is composed: academic accreditation bodies, corporate boards of universities, research review committees, foundations and other funding sources, the publishing industry, professional scholarly associations, and think tanks and “policy shops” (p.7, Elshrain 2001).

In the case of the Italians, the intellectual influences held back the development of political science as much as they enhanced it. Capano and Verzichelli expound convincingly on the difficult fight by such pioneers as Giovanni Sartori, Giorgio Freddi, Alberto Speafico and Paolo Farneti to get recognition for the empirical study of politics in Italy. They point to “the cultural prevalence of anti-empiricism and normativism in the study of politics; the delayed penetration of democratic theories due to the Fascist regime; the ideological nature of the elite that guided the transition to democracy; the historically-rooted pluralistic conception of politics in Italian universities; and the evolution of the notion of the state. These factors have combined diachronically to proffer structural resistance to the emergence and development of modern empirical political science (p.1).”

To assess the state of their discipline, the Italian authors propose that the status of an academic subject depends on five essential factors: its original environment, resources, credibility and visibility, ability to attract students, and society’s perceptions of its utility and legitimacy (p.32). Their assessment of the status of political science in Italy is not very rosy. Institutionally it has always had to compete for resources with older, more highly legitimated, “baronial faculties” (law, philosophy, history, economics and sociology, “the Political Sciences”) which also disputed its subject matter. Despite doubling its numerical presence, political science is scattered in a relatively small number of universities and the visibility of its research within the international framework is still rather limited. It is not very attractive for undergraduates because of its low social exposure, and a lack of genuinely visible career opportunities. It has not even developed a network of think tanks or policy units. Public perception is also low because in the media one cannot perceive the difference between a political scientist and any other political commentator (p. 33). Whether optimistic or not, the Italian analysis suggest another gamut of variables that influence political science.

It was also found that professional associations, national and international, are also significant for the development of the discipline. Political science associations (PSA) provide for cooperation, communication, professional recognition, conferences, official journals, research groups, and, in some cases, public representation and lobbying. In this manner, says Klingemann, “these organizations provide the infrastructure for a critical debate over new insights from political inquiry (p. 377).” He only laments the lack of a unified voice for political science in Europe. In Lithuania it was their PSA that worked to create a political science community through conferences and awards. Half a dozen countries reported setting up new youth sections to help their professional development. In Russia, an important form of self-organization of communities in subdisciplinary fields became the research committees of the RPSA (p.9). Australia was one of several noting the significant role of the International Political Science Association in its founding. Poland explained this role of the IPSA. “This international dimension of the academic and organizational activities was quite important for the process of building a theoretical and methodological foundation of Polish political science as it allowed Polish political studies and research on a widely understood political system to come closer to research that was conducted in academic circles in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Research cooperation and academic contacts undertaken by Polish political scientists with foreign partners allowed for a flow of thoughts, ideas, projects and theoretical hypotheses … (p. 3)

2.8.6 Education Policies and Political Science: We may consider education institutions and policies (like universities) as an intervening variable in political science development. Obviously, government policies that support or do not support universities and/or certain faculties; do or do not authorize the teaching of certain disciplines; and do or do not pay professors and sponsor research are absolutely determinant for a discipline like political science. Many governments simply do not want political studies and that is why the field only exists in about a third of the countries of the world. New education policies can have an immense effect on political science, as in post-War Japan. The education reforms produced a dramatic increase in the teaching of the liberal arts in general and political science in particular. Sometimes the reforms are one step removed from a direct influence on the discipline. In Germany, the teaching of civics became obligatory at all primary and secondary levels so the demand for political science training has remained high. Recent changes in France show the direct influence government policies can have on political science without actually targeting this particular discipline. “The French academic landscape is changing fast, with the 2006 Programme Law for Research, the creation of a National Research Agency in 2005, and an Evaluation Agency for Higher Education and Research in 2006, and the 2007 Law on Liberties and Responsibilities of Universities and the on-going reorganization of the National Centre for Scientific Research … lead to uncertainty as to the place of the social sciences (Deloy & Mayer:1).” The policy with the broadest impact on political science has certainly been the Bologna Process in Europe (Reinalda & Kulseza 2006). Not only has it led to the standardization of the discipline at the B.A. level and sponsored exchanges, but “Bologna helps political science with more student mobility, easier comparability, and better access to the European labor market (Schuttemeyer: 3).”

Sometimes political science can get side-swiped by changes in educational policies. For the last several years, there has been a war over education orientations in Norway. The conservatives are trying to impose “new public management (NPM)” and public choice policies in education to stimulate “market competition”, national testing and divulgation, local control and accountability, and privatization. It is thought that an elitist, private, business management orientation ascribing a consumer model to students would be less open to political science than the traditional inclusive, open access, Nordic model. Trond Solhaug provides a sobering conclusion about the effect of education policies. “The educational sector is of particular importance because schools are society’s institutions for socialization and are to prepare students for future participation in society… The educational system becomes increasingly important in the future for economic development and cultural integration in an increasingly plural society (p.21).” Such considerations should make political scientists think very hard about developing their capacity to influence government policies.

2.9 Summary and Conclusions:Section 2: The State of the Discipline in Major Regions of the World and Future Common Activities

Now, let us see how we can pull all this mass of information together. My first goal is to arrive at some generalizations under the headings of trends, problems, and proposals that will give a schematic portrait of the discipline in the world today. Needless to say, these generalizations will leap over the hills and valleys of the realities that exist in different countries. Then, I will try to arrive at some conclusions concerning some of the major issues facing political science today.

2.9.1 Trends in Political Science: If we can arrive at some generalizations concerning world-wide political science it is probably because we are all facing a more demanding, increasingly competitive, homogenizing environment, largely created by globalization, Europeanization, international mobility, and changing government policies on higher education and research. The first thing to note is the steady expansion of political science during the past two decades both in former communist countries and in the Third World. Kasse estimates there are more than 40,000 of us around the world producing more than a 1,000 political science journals. In the U.K. the number of post-graduate students has multiplied by a factor of 100 in the last forty years. In Germany, the number of under-graduate students went from 7,000 in 1980 to 28,000 in 2006. The European Consortium for Political Research started with 8 institutional members in 1970 but now has 330. Over the past 40 years, the United States has graduated more than 25,000 doctorates in political science, 4,800 of them from foreign countries. The International Political Science Association (IPSA) now numbers more than 50 national members from countries most of which can claim to have a critical mass of political scientists who are adequately institutionalized and relatively self-sufficient in the creation of structures, standards and a professional community.

Certainly the above mentioned changes have renewed interest in the definition, scope, institutionalization, professionalization and methodologies of political science. In most countries, political science is reaching “adulthood’ with the steady expansion of their departments, associations, journals, teaching and research staffs and students. The discipline has become a collective enterprise, a profession with well-defined standards for training and employment, based institutionally in national university systems. Institutions are generally well entrenched. Systematic empirical knowledge is growing apace. The profession has established a common language, standards of activity, partnerships of colleagues, means of critical assessment, and generally well-established professional communities including research networks. Internationalization of the disciplines through associations, exchanges, publications, and research projects and networks has led to better professional standards.

Aside from these structural commonalities regarding the institutional and professional bases of the discipline, there are also a number of common tendencies concerning its content. The core components of the political science curriculum that Klingemann attributes to Europe, apply more broadly across the world. They include: political theory and history of political ideas; political system of one’s country and the region; public administration and policy analysis; political economy and political sociology; comparative politics; international relations; and methodology (including statistics)(p.374). However, different epistemological positions surface when it comes to particular methodological skills: one camp stressing analytic theory and quantitative data analysis while the other prefers a philosophical/historical approach and hermeneutics.

A core global set of research sub-fields seems to be appearing focusing on a myriad of research specializations (IPSA 50 research committees, APSA and PSA 30 - 40 sections) within domestic political systems, democratic regimes, methodological approaches, areas and comparative studies, international politics, public administration and local government. For instance, a recent APSA study of major fields of political science research in the United States showed that 38% worked on American politics, 37% comparative, 30% international relations, 17% political theory or philosophy, 10% public law and 10% methodology. There is also a convergence around an eclectic, pluralist set of approaches to political science analysis. Among those mentioned on several occasions: systems analysis, structural-functionalism, behaviorism, historical-institutionalism, juridical-constitutional, critical theory, Marxism, qualitative research, management (public administration), public choice and constructionist. Convergences in journals include trends towards: internationalization of authors and contents; thematic and specialized journals and fewer generalized ones; less influence for non-English journals; more methodological and empirical maturity and complexity of content; and less parochialism, more comparativism and international studies.

Among the most striking recent trends in political science is the “change and diversification” reported by the United States. For instance, the newest organized sections in the APSA go against international trends. One of the largest of them deals with “qualitative and multi-methods” which is very revealing in a world currently absorbed by quantitative research and specialized methods. Furthermore, projected American research trends deal not with the core topics mentioned above but with feminist theory, the study of identity (race, nationalism, ethnicity, sex, personality etc.), integration of theoretical and empirical models and sexuality and politics among others. Even more radically, the American authors project their discipline will grow in its awareness and attention to public issues.

In seeking the factors that explain the development of political science we may speak of a certain “path dependency” with influences coming from educational and political institutions, national and international social and economic conditions, and the prevalent cultural/intellectual environment which defines social perceptions and recognition. Democratic regimes would seem to be a sine qua non for the flourishing of political studies. But even within democracies, political scientists must take into consideration their political context including political forces and institutions. Globalization and internationalization have had a homogenizing influence on the discipline. Other strong influences on the development of political science include: an open educations system, prosperity, foreign exchanges, returning exiles, research models and theories, leading scholars and educators, professional associations and, above all, relatively independent universities and stable sources of funding. A number of countries say they are concerned about the destabilizing impacts on relatively fledgling political science of new overview institutions aimed at making research and universities more collaborative, competitive and self-supporting. As regards intellectual influences, the U.S. says that the era of great scholars and individual break-throughs has been replaced by complex scholarly networks, a diverse and inclusive profession and institutional progress.

2.9.2 Problems Facing Political Science: The leading problem facing political science is the issue of fragmentation and excessive specialisation. The major issue in fragmentation is with international relations (IR) and public administration creating separate departments and associations thus leading to the blurring of the discipline’s boundaries. Certainly it magnifies the difficulties in representing the discipline. A second issue is the obsession with specialization with most of us drawn into ever narrower fields of research with international colleagues while ignoring local issues. A third is the “mainstream” – “non-mainstream” division and deprecation between quantitative (e.g. empirical/scientific) vs. qualitative (e.g. philosophical/institutional) practitioners. The U.S. and UK see specialization as a boon providing links to non-academic interests, stronger career progression, and the emergence of new fields. They believe collaborative, integrative activities are going on simultaneously. Others fear divisions are being created that impede effective communication, prevents cumulation, hampers debates within the discipline, and reduces our capacity to deal with real political issues.

A second key problem is the relationship between political scientists and political reality leading to issues of visibility, recognition, relevance and identity. The Americans recognize allegations of “monolithism, scientism and detachment” and wonder if there has not been an increasing risk of “scholasticism and detachment from practical politics”. To put it another way, there is a retreat from domestic political debate because of our specialization and our “scientific pretensions”. Quantitative methodology was criticized as a mathematical scientism that is a logical and conceptual morass and a “science only in name”. There are few “public intellectuals” and few connections with the political class. Several countries (e.g. U.K. Belgium etc.) reported strong interaction between academics and policy-makers but most complained of poor applications of our research to politics and poor visibility in the media. Others are dependant on state contracts, research funding and authorizations. The general results are a widening gap between public expectations and scholarly interests and a sense we are not helping citizens. In addition, political scientists in some countries have weak visibility in comparison with journalists and other disciplines which traditionally have disputed the subject matter (law, history, philosophy, economics, and sociology).

A third major problem is that the public persona of political science is still mainly “male and white”. Many countries, even the most advanced, reported that barely a third of political scientists are female, although it is getting a little better in the new generation. In multiethnic and multiracial countries, the non-white groups, especially aboriginals are poorly represented in the discipline – as are great regions of the world. Youth are also having difficulty getting into the discipline due to budget cuts and a loss of popularity in some places causing a bottleneck in the career ladder. PSA are responding with youth sections. An interesting conclusion from Germany is that the flexible boundaries and heterogeneous curriculum of political science may be making our young graduates more adaptable for the labour market.

While internationalization is generally viewed favourably, it can have pernicious results. It can lead to the importation of analytical frameworks that do not reflect local conditions. Giving priority to international research networks reinforces specialization and can lead scholars to ignore local issues and debates.

Small political communities fear that internationalization will lead to further specialization and fragmentation. All of which leads to several calls for indigenization.

In small countries and small departments there is a “miniature replica” difficulty where departments try to “emulate the big boys” but there are insufficient resources and a lack of funding continuity to cover all the major areas in the discipline. Hence, some small political science communities complain of being submerged by international trends; of having neither a theoretical nor methodological core; and of having to create fanciful new courses – with a resulting lack of continuity and growth. One solution has been to focus on building key specializations and first class projects.

2.9.3 Some Proposals for Political Science: Mainland China should be invited to rejoin the IPSA and the Association should strive to help develop political science in Asia, Africa and the Arab countries. The Montreal Conference called for the formation of a general European political science association.

Many are questioning the bifurcation of the discipline into IR and ‘the rest’, when it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ‘domestic’ and the ‘international’. The same can be said of public administration. Surely the logic of politics does not stop at national boundaries or at the ante-chambers of government. If it can be argued that political scientists never made sufficient space for sub-fields such as international studies, public administration and even political philosophy, maybe it is time that political science associations took the lead in opening up debates on the issues and possible solutions.

To combat the poor relations between political science and the political class and to encourage a better influence on real political problems, there were a number of calls for dedicated think tanks to bring scholars together in new cross-disciplinary and policy-oriented ways. Political science needs to make a collective effort to understand the social needs of their time. Relations with politicians and governments should be “constructively critical, engaged, but autonomous”. The American Political Science Association Report on Graduate Education suggests a revolutionary new ethic for political science which goes well beyond the traditional “science for knowledge” motivation. The APSA Report says one of the discipline’s primary tasks is the ‘exploration of how far politics can help explain human experiences and help resolve human difficulties” and that “studies of ethical norms and normative commitments are central to the study of politics”. Broader perspectives in the M.A. programs might counteract hyper-specialization. We also need to have better information on the infrastructure and institutionalization of the discipline.

2.9.4: A Very Special Problem: Dealing with Specialization: We have seen that among the most significant issues facing political science circa 2010 are the problems of fragmentation and specialization. Fragmentation encompasses all the divisions in political science that have been mentioned earlier in this report – the separation of international relations and public administration and some other sub-fields, competing theoretical and methodological approaches, and a myriad of other splits over language, centre vs. periphery, ethnicity, country-specific education systems etc. Specialization is another form of fragmentation. By specialization I presume we mean individual and group concentration of research within one of the academic sub-fields of political science. While not disputing the contributions of specialization, several papers worried it has become “excessive”. By this, we may presume they have in mind scholars whose research focuses on ever-more narrow subjects that absorb their whole career and excludes any attempt at linkage with the broader sub-field or with socio-political problems.

This power of concentration has led to many of the break-throughs in science. The capacity to know all about a specific research area, to be in contact with colleagues at the cutting-edge of the field, and to focus one’s research on new developments can offer inspiration and save time and energy. There can be no doubt that specialization is an integral part of scientific progress. The questions are whether specialization also leads to human progress and whether its excesses can be counteracted? It seems that each time we learn of a new scientific advance we also hear about examples of uncontrolled technologies despoiling our environment and communities.

This report has enumerated many of the problems that excesses in specialization are causing for the discipline:

  • Political scientists communicate badly among themselves and with the world. Poor communication impedes cumulation of knowledge.
  • Narrow, academic knowledge does not go very far in satisfying the public’s thirst for an understanding of their society and for an informed debate over its goals and values. Even within the discipline there is little theoretical debate among the “separated tables” of different approaches.
  • Our students rarely get exposed to the fundamental questions underlying our discipline so they are not encouraged to “look at the big picture”, to take a broad approach, and to be adventuresome in their research hypotheses. They lack holistic vision or understanding. Because of the nature of our disciple we spend more time trying to eek out the last two percent of the explanatory power of our statistical model than we do in confronting society’s issues (Beck ).
  • As teachers we spend more time spoon-feeding details than educating. We rarely ask what is the value-added benefit of a professor in the classroom?
  • International specialization distracts scholars from participating in the debates of their university or country.

The question is, of course, can anything be done about fragmentation and particularly about specialization or is it just the nature of the beast? From the outset we must admit that this is an issue that bedevils all science and technology and not just political science. For instance, many people complain that their doctors treat them as detached pieces of organs rather than in a holistic manner. Sometimes specialization is credited with the continued progress of science, at other times it is accused of all the sins of a divided humanity.

The problem of specialization is all encompassing and has been around for a long time, so we have had some time to think about it. It all starts when we take our first degrees in political science and every thing is cut up into ‘half courses”. Unless we have an extraordinary teacher of political thought, it is unlikely we will deal with the ‘big questions’. Specialization is confirmed when we do our doctorate and come to realize how vast the discipline of political science has become. We quickly learn we must specialize in several and, eventually, one field, in order to survive. Our kindly thesis advisor suggests we would be wise to be very narrow in our choice of topic if we want to get it completed and defended. So begins our career.

Then, most things in our career – teaching, research, promotion, recognition, and publication -- seem to conspire to force us to specialize. The first motivating factor is to find a compatible academic community but this is soon seconded by the greater facilitation in finding a supportive community for conferences, publication and eventually promotion. Rarely is this found in our own department so discussion and communication is between kindred spirits in other departments and countries. Even when we invite guest lecturers to our departments, we usually gain most by inviting colleagues from our sub-field. Students, thus, are rarely exposed to the big questions, the questions that political philosophers should be debating but, they too, have been forced to specialize as exegists. So who asks: what are the proper aims of political science? How “scientific” can it be? Are we seeking only knowledge or wisdom too (Maxwell 2007)? Should it deal with norms and values? Is it meant to speak truth to power? What should be the role of political scientists in society? How are societies stabilized, developed or changed? What is the context of our specialties and how are they inter-related? How, for example, is each election study attached to democracy? And, if we want to debate these topics, where would we find the big thinkers now that the “canonical” leaders of the discipline have largely disappeared?

The specialization problem is so all-pervasive that it will take immense thought on the part of the whole discipline to deal with it. There are already signs that disciplinary leaders have recognized the extent of the problem. Although, as we have seen, in Great Britain and the United States there is the traditional knee-bending support for the creativeness of specialist groups, the IPSA has always taken care to start its World Congresses with Main Theme Sessions that bridge the discipline. Now it has taken responsibility for organizing cooperation and communication between research committees. In the U.S. they are seeking new institutional means for promoting inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary research. More and more voices are being raised against the irrational divisions between political science, international relations and public administration.

But, it is likely much more needs to be done to build a holistic understanding of politics. It is unlikely either that specialization will disappear or that any single solution can be found for its excesses. Rather we need to think in terms of spreading awareness of the dangers of specialization and taking counter-active measures. Already we have seen suggestions for broadening out the curriculum of the M.A. program and of creating think tanks and research groups dedicated to exploring political issues and developing trans-disciplinary research. The APSA has created a politically oriented journal. Can we go further? Should there be obligatory introductory courses and texts dealing with the major issues in politics and political science at the B.A. level which would be analysed in greater depth during doctoral studies? Could there be greater interaction between politicians and public servants at levels of government -- to begin with at our annual conferences? Should our associations seek to bridge the gap between politics and political science? Perhaps we should strive to ensure that narrow specialization is not considered to be a truly scholarly attribute.

Section 3:Cutting-edge Areas of Research in Political Science as Evidenced by IPSA Research Committees (RCs)

The papers from the IPSA Montreal Conference surveyed in this section are quite different from the others. They are not aimed at analyzing the developments in a country or subfield. Rather their major goal it to describe current innovations within a particular area of research. The papers were gathered together in five sessions representing families of liked interests:

  • International Politics, Globalization and Democracy
  • Political Sociology and Political Socialization
  • Electoral Politics and Political Financing
  • Levels of Governance and Public Policies
  • Civil-Military Relations, Terrorism, and the Protection of Human Rights

It can be seen that these titles do not represent any traditional; homogenous subfield of the discipline. Rather each is an amalgam of related areas that have been chosen so as to include as numerous and broad a swath of the discipline as possible in five separate sessions. Nor are they a systematic presentation about a particular subfield. The papers are more like a smorgasbord of offerings by authors from research committees who wanted to report on recent advances in their particular domain. Given these conditions, it seemed best to clearly identify each item on the menu and then present a brief summary of the specific innovations the authors wanted to bring to our attention along with any problems they also pointed out.

International Politics, Globalization and Democracy

3.1 Political Atlas of the World: Understanding the Non-Linear Dynamics of the World Politics (Yuri A. Polunin, Mikhail G. Mironyuk, Ivan N. Timofeev, Moscow State Institute of International Relations)

The Moscow State Institute of International Relations’ project entitled the Political Atlas of the World is one of what we might call massive, analytical data bases that have become a new trend in political science. The aim of the project is to help both international relations and comparative studies to surmount the extreme heterogeneity of the 192 members of the international (UN) system by creating an ‘atlas’ (not a map) that is a formalized data compendium that allows one to analyze categories of criteria on countries and compare them on both a static and dynamic basis.

The choice of criteria for the project starts with the assumption that world polities can be classified according to five factors:

  • Quality and efficiency of the state (government)
  • Capacity to respond to external and internal threats
  • Capacity for international influence
  • The well-being of the population (quality of life)
  • The institutional basis of democracy (e.g. representation, separation of powers, competition, participation)

The indices together have 60 quantified variables for each country, taken from verifiable international source. The variables are then aggregated into indices. All the indices were calculated by means of ‘discriminant analysis” allocating different weights to variables. Normalized on a 0-10 scale, these serve as index values upon which countries are ranked. To achieve significant correlations, the authors chose four, principle, non-correlated components that explained 100% of variance (national survival and its quality, state basis of democracy, human price of stateness, and maximization of influence). This allows us to understand not only the features of each country’s unique character and the structures and interrelations of the countries within the space of the components. They were then able to develop classifications of world politics by means of cluster analysis of countries with the same characteristic features.

The next steps in the Atlas project are to enlarge its database and create a time series for 1989-2007 before proceeding to non-linear models of countries’ development dynamics (types, growth, competition etc.). Preliminary models based on the UN Development Index reveal a great similarity in dynamics for countries in the same cluster. During the discussion of this paper and oral presentations of other large-N, international projects, discussants called for greater elaboration of what the authors are trying to explain.

3.2 Imperialism, Dominance and Culture: The Relevance of Critical Geopolitics (Simon Dalby, Carleton University)

Critical geopolitics is a new field that was initiated in 1986 in response to a paper by Gearoid O Tuathail calling for an approach within political geography that would focus on geopolitical culture and the formulation of foreign policy. Then, as since 2000, the practical goal was for critical geopolitics to grapple with the culture of complicity of geopolitics with domination and imperialism in American foreign policy. Geopolitics, according to Dalby, had two basic approaches: the Mackinder tradition that emphasized policy recommendations for the “practice of geopolitics”, and a more critical and materialist formulation drawing on political economy and world systems theory. But, O Tuathail thought that the latter had not explicitly tackled Reagan’s attempts to shore-up American hegemony with the use of military force. Since the 1980s, critical geopolitics has been buttressed by an engagement with feminism, cultural studies, post-structuralism, political discourse, and post-colonialism.

The theory is that there is an implicit geopolitical culture that invokes geopolitical terminology, within the current state system, in the formulation and practice of foreign policy. The importance of geopolitical culture is that it serves to construct and map threats, maps strategic thinking of important and marginal places, and forms an “architecture of enmity” that structures imperial designs and justifies certain kinds of military forces to deal with the threats. Critical geopolitics engages this culture with a “discourse of dissent” to challenge the militarism of the times. The critics fear that adventures “in the imperial manner” are undermining what remains of the republican form of government. The imperial epithet was justified by Bush’s doctrine of pre-eminence, preventive war, interventions for forcible regime change, and a long war to oppose the threat of tyranny of Islamic extremism. The technique of critical geopolitics is to make apparent the “geographies of power” that geopolitical discourse omits in its formulation of enemies and rationales for military action. This lays bare, says Dalby, the precise geography of American imperial hubris that is consistent with traditions of American exceptionalism, manifest destiny, and messianism for the future of humanity. But these arguments still need to be linked to larger understandings of culture and political economy if political strategies to reduce violence are to be effective.

3.3 Religion in International Politics (David Wessels, Sophia University, Japan)

David Wessels provides us with a helpful overview of the intensified relationships between religion and international politics which had been “submerged under secular, nationalist, or overtly atheistic ideologies”. Once again religion and politics are associated not only with power struggles and conflict but also with dialogue and conciliation. Moral teachings of religion have been and continue to be addressed to politics. Global politics corresponds to the universal aspirations and identities of boundary-free religions. With globalization, relatively easy migration, and porous boundaries, the movement of religions has increased creating Diasporas of religious communities and swelling minority religious groups. Cross-border religious irredentism can be a source of international friction. Linkages between politics and religion include moral teachings and war and concepts of “holy war” and “just war”. Also conscientious objection as well as terrorism rest on religious foundations. As Wessel says, “Even if veneer justifications are not always believable, the bow that vice makes to virtue when political actors try to justify warfare and terrorism resonates with religious norms in many instances (p.3).”

Ethnic, tribal and religious identities also have a role in shaping international identities and explain much of what we call international relations. In a globalized world, personal identities often show a blending of religious and political aspects. As people interact more frequently, both religions and politics are faced with the common need to find ways to deal with diversity. There is also a more self-conscious personal learning process via concepts of tolerance and freedom of religion.

A number of circumstances have converged to make religion a more “public” activity now than just a few decades ago. “Separation of church and state” is being reformulated as one of relationship between religion and politics. Vigorous movements such as human rights and religious freedom have thrust religious discourse into the public arena. The legitimacy of government is often dependent on religious support. Also many people have pointed to the role of religion in the democracy waves of recent decades (e.g. Philippines, Korea, Poland, Taiwan, and East Timor). Thus, it can be claimed that relaxation of tensions can only be achieved by acknowledgement by both sides of the renewed importance of their interaction. As far as social science is concerned, it remains to be seen how these “cutting-edge issues” of the world will be transformed into “cutting-edge research” in academia.

Political Sociology and Political Socialization

3.4 The public Character of Intimate Life: National Membership, Family Forms and Scales of Governance (Lois Harder, University of Alberta)

Do neo-liberal regimes have an interest in and an impact on the concept of marriage and “intimate relationships” in general? Lois Harder’s comparative research on Canada and the United States found that neo-liberalism has an incomplete explanatory force and is malleable to the context of different countries. She argues that “while neo-liberal theory can be inattentive to family form (marriage, domestic partnership, sexual identities, conjugality), neo-liberal governance nonetheless expresses a deep reliance on a specific set of ideas about family function (a fetishized distinction between the private and the public, self-support, self-sufficiency, and socialization to these and related norms) (p.2).” Privatized family support, however, allows for a range of family forms. There is some variation in form between the U.S. and Canada but the expected functions are remarkably similar.

Harder maintains that research has shown that both classical liberalism and neo-liberalism have unspoken assumptions about the family’s role in facilitating the interests of capitalism’s logic of private accumulation. Liberal readings of the family presume that a legitimated form ensures the performance of supportive functions (but does not study the reality of this presumption for fear of intervening in “family privacy”). The Enlightenment’s bourgeois family form, over time, shaped law and policy, casting the nuclear family with its attendant gendered and racialized forms of power as the ‘natural’ order (Coontz, 2005). The care and supportive work that assured the preparedness of workers to participate in the labor market happened in private households. The state expressed its preference through policies such as the family wage, stringent divorce laws, and unwillingness to invest in child care services. Neo-liberalism supported this family model through its emphasis on individualism, freedom and a weakened state sector. However, neo-liberalism must contend with internal contradictions when dealing with struggles for human rights and when trying to balance liberal privacy against patriarchal values.

Neo-liberalism has been described as “agnostic” on the issue of family form (Cossman 2002: 182). Two neo-liberal states – Canada and the U.S. – can diverge quite markedly on the range of legitimated relationships. Canada recognizes marriage between different and same-sex couples, and common law relationships between same and different sex couples. In the U.S. heterosexual marriage maintains pride of place, with some notable exceptions in some states. Neo-liberalism’s agnosticism thus leaves open an important site of contestation in which historical processes, political norms and moral values can assert themselves – thereby cautioning political analysts to attend to the details of encounters between neo-liberal ideas and political configurations (Esping-Anderson, 1996). The outcome of neo-liberal hegemony is not homogeneity, but a constantly shifting landscape of experimentation, restructuring, social learning, technocratic policy transfer and partial emulation

Electoral Politics and Political Financing

3.5 Electronic Democracy on Comparative Perspective (Norbert Kersting, Stellenbach University)

Norbert Kersting tackles two of the major issues in the relationships between electronic media and problems in development and democracy. Is the information divide between developed and developing countries widening? Can new information and communications technologies increase participation in democracy? The answer to the first question is yes, but not entirely and, to the second, no, but possibly. The information gap between rich and poor countries still exists, but the developing countries show higher growth rates in their internet usage and, in this sense, the digital divide seems not to be expanding but slowly closing (p.3). As regards E-democracy, empirical data shows that online voting does not seem to prevent voting apathy (p.12). But the judicious use of ICT (information and communications technology) may promote participation through better knowledge, access and communications.

For the technically challenged like this author who think that E-democracy, E-government and E-development is just simply about cell phones and the Internet, it is fascinating to see the complexity of the field. Researchers have defined E-democracy as the use of ICT by citizens in an attempt to select their rulers, to hold them accountable, or to advocate changes in their behaviour or policies. These efforts might include E-access to information, consultation, petitioning, polling, and forums. In addition, enhanced E-participation might include e-mails, online polls and discussions and information about candidates, parties, voting, and political news and elections. E-government refers to efforts by public authorities to provide information about their services and to allow citizens to use ICT to make transactions with the government that they had previously had to do in person or by the post. According to Kersting, the potential consequences of E-government have yet to be analysed properly and the development of a research agenda is needed.

E-development can be conceptualized as the mainstream integration of electronic tools along with other developmental tools in internal public management, external service delivery and democratic interaction processes.

The new technologies provide new terrains for inclusion and exclusion. Global network structures enhanced informational and social inequalities and reinforced uneven development (Chen and Wellman, 2003). In the developed regions in 2005 53% had Internet access, but only 9% in developing regions and 3% in sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons are poverty and low levels of urbanization and population density which make Internet infrastructure costly. However, cellular networks may work as a substitute for the Internet. Globally the number of cell phone users went up from 0.2% in 1990 to 34% in 2005, including 85% in developed countries and 25% in developing regions. But this figure was 43% in Latin America and Western Asia and 72% in South Africa. However, access is just one indicator for the digital divide. Skill to use the new tools is another. This requires motivation and information literacy. Hence we have the growing digital divide and inequality in the information society (Van Dyk, 2005). There are enduring gaps in terms of age, ethnicity, race, income and education. Countries differ tremendously. The elderly and the less educated have less information literacy and technical competence. The youth, the educated and the politically active are much further advanced in this regard. Strategies for surmounting the digital divide, for countries that cannot afford massive infrastructure programs in technology and education, include: public access sites, motivational and usage awareness programs, information campaigns, connecting to schools and availability in local language with user friendly technology applied to daily problems. Experimental pilot projects are recommended with computers given to low income families which participate in training programs plus public Internet access sites to strengthen computer skills. But education opportunities are crucial.

With regard to E-democracy, while electronic voting presents considerable problems, participation can be increased through a number of functions. E-information allows citizens to consult information which can be easily disseminated. Transparency in local politics can be achieved. E-communication allows information exchange between individuals and groups as well as collective consultation. All this is enhanced by E-polls, web forums, news groups and chat pages. E-participation helps citizens partake in decision-making through referendums and internet voting and consulting and influencing government in the various phases of deliberation. Empowerment heightens legitimacy. New generations of voting machines which provide for paper records and recounts, also enhance legitimacy because of their efficiency and rapidity. However, internet voting has many technical and social risks. The main critical points are: overriding the obligatory secrecy of the vote; potential privatization of politics leading to hasty, spontaneous participation without adequate information or time for reflection; and possible attacks by hackers and rigging of results, thus undermining legitimacy. Only a small number of countries have taken the leap to Internet voting including Switzerland and Estonia with Great Britain, Germany and Belgium giving some thought to trial runs.

In all countries, the main goals of electronic voting focus on higher political inclusion, higher voter turnout, and better information and discourse before the ballot. The idea is to use the Internet as a door opening for political participation. Creation of a new instrument in electoral procedures which strengthens the motivation of younger voters will only happen if it is accompanied by better information systems (smart voting etc.) and new instruments of participatory democracy (referendums, voucher systems etc.) which increase the value of voting, knowledge and motivation (Kersting & Baldersheim, 2004).

3.6 Public Policy and the Study of Political Finance: A Review of Past Developments, Current Problems and Opportunities for the Future (Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, Brunel University)

When Herbert Alexander started his research on campaign finance in the 1950s it was a fringe topic disregarded by most political scientists as too grubby and unsuitable for scientific analysis. By the 1980s the World Bank and many agencies and governments had become interested and the Research Committee 20 on Political Finance and Political Corruption had become a mainstay of the International Political Science Association. There is a broad consensus that “political finance” includes the funding of election campaigns and political parties and the effect of money on voting for legislatures. It is hard to gain access to accurate data to satisfy the “science of politics” involving the testing of hypotheses with empirical data. Nevertheless, this was the first goal of RC 20. Later it shifted to the analysis of regulatory reforms of political finance, in which leading members of the Committee like Khayyam Paltiel (Canada), Herbert Alexander (U..S.), Karl-Heinz Nassmacher (Germany), Menachem Hofnung (Israel), Marcin Walecki (Poland), and Rei Shiratori (Japan)) had been intimately implicated. A second thrust of the Committee was the quest for a wider geographical coverage of the field.

When political corruption suddenly became a vogue topic for international agencies, NGOs and government development agencies in the late 1980s there was suddenly a flow of money for anti-corruption research and advocacy. According to Pinto-Duschinsky the impact on researchers was fairly dramatic. “For some scholars the opportunities provided by well-funded public bodies were too attractive to resist. Paradoxically, the high profile of political corruption in the field of public policy tended to subtract from the academic study of the field. This is a personal judgement and it may not be universally agreed. (p.4). In the rest of his paper, Pinto-Duschinsky elaborates on this theme. As one of the most dramatic and forthright testimonies by a senior scholar on the relations between funders and researchers it merits being noted. He looks first at the opportunities presented by increased interest and funding for the field and then he elaborates on its challenges, before concluding with some reflections on how to resolve some of the conflicts between “academic purity and policy relevance”.


  • Scholars are encouraged to explore new ground that might have been too complex or which requires “real world” evidence.
  • Additional money made it possible to meet scholars and do research in more countries.
  • Money also makes it possible to collect empirical data that otherwise would be out of reach.
  • A valuable new dimension is added by linking academics and practitioners.
  • Consultancy work creates awareness of political realities. “Especially valuable since the academic study of politics is often damaged by lack of experience of practical realities, especially in the poorer regions (p.6). “


  • Pressures of practitioner-academic cooperation require scholars to monitor their own involvement. As Hans Morgenthau Jr. said, “Interests of governments are inextricably intertwined with the interests of large groups of academics. These ties are formal and informal, and the latter are the more dangerous to academic freedom, as they consist in the intellectuals’ unconscious adaptation to imperceptible social and political pressures (Hill & Beshoff 1994: ix, x).” Obviously what Morgenthau says about governments also holds for parties, corporations, agencies and NGOs.
  • While public bodies often give no-strings-attached grants, some governmental bodies and NGOs look to consultants for results which are to their liking. It has been known for academics to receive direct instructions. Often agencies and NGOs believe they are acting within their own legal remit, or face pressures from foreign governments, or fear their own funding could be compromised
  • The duty of expert academic witnesses in trials is to the court, but this is often honored in the breach.
  • Sponsoring bodies may select scholars whose views coincide with their own.
  • It is not unknown for a funding body to dispute conclusions and delay or deny payment.
  • Some academics get to know what is expected of them – a hatchet job or praise – and adapt their work accordingly.
  • NGOs often prefer publicity garnering devices such as an “index” to hard case studies. A total of twenty measures of transparency were listed in one World Bank paper. Or international agencies may seek formulated codes to set broad standards that often look like quick fixes which gloss over controversial points or are too vague to be meaningful.
  • Plagiarism: some NGO desk officers are tempted to claim authorship of the works of their academic consultants, just as some senior academics may unjustifiably add their names to their junior colleagues work.
  • Conditions of confidentiality may damage relationships among academics.
  • There is the vital matter that real-world policy issues increasingly affect the choice of research topics to the detriment of theories and scientific explanations. As Susan Scarrow has written in a review article, political finance since the 1970s is characterized by “mounting evidence, lagging theory” (2007: 206). Pinto-Duschinsky thinks it is time to return to the broader questions of the 1960s such as: trends in spending in politics; comparative costing of campaigns; the effects of spending on electoral outcomes; the effects of public funding; the effects of money on female candidatures.


At the outset, it is necessary to raise the question of the meaning of relevance. In certain ways, the ivory tower may turn out to have more practical value than a consciously policy-relevant approach – or than we give it credit for at present. Nevertheless, entanglements with funders are likely to become more tempting and more common. Therefore intellectuals need to be more cautious. The art of research is to take advantage of the opportunities while minimizing the pitfalls. Pinto-Duschinsky does not believe there is any miracle cure. Personal integrity on the part of the researcher is the best safeguard. Nevertheless, potential hazards can be lessened.

Individuals, departments and institutes should ration the amount of “policy relevant” contracts they undertake. Relying on outside payments is dangerous.

Secondly, the IPSA could take a more pro-active role. Along with its research committees, it could provide information to their members about how funding bodies operate and safeguards they should put in place. They might have an interesting role as partners in projects to help represent and protect the interests of scholars. There is also a potential role for systematic mentoring and tutorial arrangements, both face-to-face and on the Internet. RCs provide a vital forum for contacts and nurturing. Along with the IPSA Executive and Secretariat they should investigate ways to expand this work in novel and economical ways.

Third, to enhance their autonomy, researchers should take advantage of new channels of communication to “meet” with each other in more economical ways. Aside from all the new information and communications technologies, the World Bank and the British Council, for example, have set up equipment that allows scholars in different countries to conduct joint seminars via large screens in conference rooms.

3.7 The Concept of Multi-level Governance in Studies of Federalism (Michael Stein & Lisa Turkewitsch, University of Toronto)

The theory and practice of “multi-level governance” is so widespread despite its recent birth in the 1990s that it easily qualifies as an “important cutting-edge” contribution to the discipline, according to Michael Stein and Lisa Turkewitsch. They managed to turn-up no fewer than 16 books, 14 chapters and 35 journal articles during the past 16 years with the concept in the title. The concept of “multi-level governance” was born in the wake of the Treaty of Maastricht and the creation of the European Union in 1992. And it is within the European context that the authors make most of their comparative analysis of the concepts of federalism and multi-level governance in this article. But we have already seen that it has a much broader usage in the context of international relations, pluralism and governance. This is because the concept of multi-level governance corresponds to the much broader phenomenon of how globalization obliges public-sector decision-making to be more dispersed, complex, and widely shared by governmental and non-governmental actors.

Multi-level governance refers to increasingly complex, multi-layered political entities with multiple, overlapping jurisdictions and sites for decision-making and an increasing number and types of actors. It draws on concepts from both domestic and international politics. As one of its progenitors, Gary Marks, pointed out, its emergence was primarily due to a new wave of thinking about the EU as a political system rather than as a process of integration. Another originator, Fritz Scharpf, outlined the problematic being, like federalism, the direct representation of constituent tiers in the central tier of government where they have a veto power and a requirement of unanimity, so that they are at the mercy of the prior interests of the governments. This joint-decision trap can lead to “frustration without disintegration and resilience without progress” (1988:239). Thinking about this problem eventually led to weighted voting and flexible majorities. Thus MLG is designed to distribute power while optimizing policy-making capacity.

The concept is considered sharply distinct from state-centric inter-governmental models. It manifests a shift from hierarchical state models to non-statist, shared or cooperative models. The term is also applied to the policy-making capacity which can vary from one policy sector to another. Thus, while one type of multi-level governance is mostly defined in territorial terms, a second type consisting of special-purpose policy structures or jurisdictions is defined more in functional terms. While there may not be any universal definition of multi-level governance, there are four common strands of research that outline the subject matter: increased participation by non-state actors; proliferation of over-lapping decision-making networks; change of the role of the state from command to coordination; and problems in the exercise of democratic accountability.

Despite being embraced so rapidly and so widely, multi-level governance – like all the other “cutting-edge” innovations we have encountered – is also subject to strong criticism (often for similar reasons). Stein and Turkewitsch summarize these criticisms as being:

  • Too descriptive – multi-level governance does not seem to be able to explain or predict governance policy outcomes.
  • Although MLG does draw attention to changing influences on decision-making, it tends to exaggerate the importance sub-national actors and to neglect the implementation and outcome stage of policy-making in which national governments still play a central “gate-keeping” function.
  • MLG theorists are prone to exaggerate the legal and hierarchical nature of prior forms of government.
  • They also tend to over-emphasize the “extra-constitutional” nature of multi-level arrangements.
  • MLG is seen, somewhat artificially, as a model of governing that largely defies, or ignores structure, disregards or downplays institutions and concentrates almost entirely on process. In this sense it lacks a clear conceptual focus.
  • It gives more priority to problem-solving capacity that to democratic accountability. It tends to trade core democratic protections for accommodation, consensus and efficiency.
  • Conceptual stretching – multi-level governance can be used to describe indiscriminately any complex and multifaceted political process (Bache & Flinders, 2004)

In their analysis of the linkages between federalism and multi-level governance, Stein and Turkeswitch, argue that there is a two-way interaction between the two. Nevertheless, while federalism is more formalized, MLG allows for up to five rather than just two levels of governance, it is much more flexible in the allocation of policy responsibilities, and there is more overlapping of competences and actors. It may also encompass some horizontal interactions such as those between the public, private and voluntary sectors. There has been “cross-pollination” between federalism and MLG but both make clear and useful contributions to the realities of governance today.

3.8 Capacity Building in Parliament and Legislatures: Institutionalization, Professionalization and Evolutionary Institutionalism (Ronald D. Hedlund, Northeastern University, Werner J. Patzelt , Technical University of Dresden, David M. Olson, University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

The question Hedlund, Patzelt and Olson ask is: how can we understand the durability, mutations, transferability and the long record of successes and failures over time of the hundreds of representative bodies around the world? How have they so often been able to gain and preserve stability and political steering capacity? Most of the study of parliaments and legislatures, the authors point out, is limited to Western democratic countries. It is also mostly individual actor-based analysis, such as role theory. The development of institutional capacity and of capable members has been and continues to be at a very uneven pace in the various representative assemblies. The authors therefore propose an alternative approach they call “evolutionary institutionalism”. It is defined as the interaction between institutions and their changing external environment – particularly the electorate and executive. It traces the development of structures and would expand the study of representative assemblies beyond the current institutionalism. The authors call for its use in comparative legislative analysis and theory building, especially in studies of developing countries. They provide a map for research and an example of a project.

The “evolutionary institutionalism” approach could analyze the growth and gradual increase in the stability and the capacities of legislatures as well as impasses in system development and subsequent system collapse (p.20). Institutionalization has been the concept used to relate how political organizations evolve and develop after their formation. It includes the creation of norms, criteria for interaction, boundary maintenance through differentiation, and norm-supporting sanctions. Evolutionary institutionalism expands this approach by building on a broad body of research around the phenomena of social, cultural and biological evolution and tries to integrate history with social science theory-building. There are seven “kernels” to that theory: 1) Every system is in continuous exchange with its environment. 2) The component elements of the system are in a continuous process of change so cultural roles and procedures must be convey to each new generation. 3) In the process of transferring distortion will occur, for example, through defects of socialization. Thus variation is created in the reconstructed order. 4) There are two sets of “selecting instances” affecting which variances will be retained: a) Internal – variance is more likely to be retained if it fits the existing structure; b) External – that fits with functional requirements. 5) Institutions adapt to their environment through contingent variation in transferring institutional order to a new generation. 6) Processes of development are shaped by basic structures and functions. 7) Functional requirements of a system may change in relation to changes in the environment.

Without slipping into reductionism, the theory has drawn on an analogy with the systems theory of evolutions in biology (Riedl, 1978). With the notion of genes or “memes” (Dawkins,1989) as carriers of “blueprints “ for organisms we can see that similar “blueprints” could exist in social and cultural patterns. The degrees of institutionalization can also be measured along the two dimensions of ‘retentions of achieved properties’ and of ‘capacity of adaptation to new challenges’. Using empirical data, one could place institutions along a continuum based on degrees of adaptability vs. rigidity, complexity vs. simplicity, autonomy vs. subordination, and coherence vs. disunity (Huntington,1965).

3.9 The Role of Parliamentary Party Groups in German Europeanized Policy-Making – Awakening from the Big Sleep? (Sabine Kropp, Heinrich-Heine-Universitat, Dusseldorf)

What is the capacity of the national legislature (Bundestag) to co-govern and to scrutinize the Federal government in Europeanized policies? Most of the literature on Europe’s legislatures in recent years has favored the “deparliamentarization” thesis given the new complexities of European policy making, the dominance of ministers, experts and bureaucrats, and the difficulty in observing and controlling the Council. Up to now it has been accepted that MPs have suffered, but now this thesis is being questioned. Kropp’s research was based on interviews with policy experts in the parliamentary party groups. She went beyond institutional processes to analyze individual behaviour and beliefs and the effects of coalitions. Her results challenge the view that legislatures have an inherent institutional disadvantage within the process of multilevel governance in comparison with other institutional structures.

Although not ignoring the formal influences on European policy such as the European Union Committee of the Bundestag, Kropp finds that the MPs prefer have their information and influence through informal networks. Indeed, studies focusing on formal structures have found that most legislatures have improved their relative position vis-à-vis the government during the 1990s. MPs try obtain compromises on policy before the topic is put into the agenda of specialized commissions. Path dependency would suggest this is not to be unexpected in Germany where traditionally in domestic matters MPs exert their influence through webs of cooperation with the executive. At first MPs did not want to be interviewed for fear of having to admit their relative failure to make enough efforts to influence European policy. For some, this was ideological as they blamed the European level for neo-liberal economic policies.

To start with, parliamentarians pay much attention to who the government chooses as its European agents. This ex ante mechanism reduces the cost of controls and installs trust. Next, it is seen as important to get “fresh” policy information i.e. during the agenda-setting process. This attained through ties with officials in the European Commission and by ties to policy experts in the same party family in the European parliament. Germany’s Permanent Representation in Brussels and the bureaus of the strong German Lander are also useful sources and allies. Perhaps the most vital source as efficient early-warning information sources are the NGOs and interest groups which are part of the European networks. Finally, German MPs maintain close contacts with MPs of other countries in Brussels. A major part of their success is carried out by internalizing specialized roles within the Bundestag and their parliamentary party groups which meet regularly with experts and representatives of the executive. Kropp concludes that informal roles and strategies support the Bundestag’s task of scrutinizing the government and match its self-perception as a working parliament that carries out its democratic duties in the area of Europeanization.

3.10 Local Governance and Party Systems Change: A Cross National Perspective (Everhard Holtmann, Martin Luther University)

The analysis of local politics can help one understand the multilevel nature of partisan politics. Holtman argues that partisan dealignment and realignment of national parties may be engineered to some degree at the local level. Sometimes in local politics, independent local lists of a “hidden” partisan nature or “undercover” partisan lists can be created. As “hybrid” actors between the local social community and the local political system (independent lists often represent particular local interests) these local partisans can connect with national parties from below and thereby have a national impact.

Holtzman believes that this angle on politics can have a number of beneficial effects. Rather than “destabilizing politics”, independent local partisan lists can be seen as realigning floating votes, preventing dissatisfied people from “exiting” the party state, and providing flexible responses to social change. It is part of the process of modernizing a party system. However it is also to be noted that local lists can reinforce fragmentation and polarization in local elected councils and often represent special interests. But this is also a reason for their success. Such candidates often have local personal trust and factual knowledge of local problems. It is their convictions and programs that can challenge the established parties.

3.11 Public-Private Partnerships in Health Care Services of Less Developed Countries (James Warner Bjorkman, Institute of Social Studies and Leiden University, Netherlands)

Bjorkman offers a rare combination of a rigorous framework and a detailed analysis, especially in developing countries, of a relatively new policy instrument – public-private partnerships (PPP) in health care services. He believes there is need for frameworks to better understand why they are formed and their different types of operation. In the descriptive part of his paper, the author provides a helpful overview of the reasons for public partnerships with the private sector, the different models of collaboration, a conceptual framework for analysis of PPPs, their advantages, liabilities and attributes, and the policy issues and challenges and design problems in the field.

However, we should pay particular attention to his “policy lessons” as an example of political science contributions to public policy. He starts with the revealing statement that “An observation common to all these research studies is that if government has the capacity to contract for clinical services, it is likely that it also has the capacity to deliver these services directly by itself (p.17). The problem is that governments lack an understanding of performance indicators and pay little attention to contract performance measures in PPPs – and if they did have this understanding they could apply it to require performance from their own workforce. Most of his “lessons” flow from this perception.

  • Leadership is critical in partnership. There is a need to improve governance rather than just depending on partnership with the private sector to provide solutions. When PPPs succeed it is because individual serve as champions for projects and serve as listening posts for feedback. There is a need to identify and empower leaders.
  • In developing countries, options must first be explored through pilot projects. Will a PPP have a catalytic effect on public health services in terms of quality, accessibility, utilization and personnel performance?
  • Government must augment its technical and managerial capacity with more professionally trained managers – not just overburdened physicians.
  • The weakest link in PPPs is the documentation and dissemination of detailed records so that partners tend to behave in an ad hoc fashion and the wheel is always being reinvented.
  • It is imperative to create sufficient political consensus and legal systems that delineate the scope of the partnership and accountability.
  • While there are accusations, there is only limited evidence of corruption at the local level that would militate against decentralization.
  • In public private partnerships the responsibility of governments increases – not decreases. They must govern, set standards, allocate resources, design projects, provide legislation and prevent corruption.
  • It is more difficult to introduce new approaches when existing services and interests are in place.
  • PPPs should not deprive public agencies of resources. Public facilities must be strengthened with equal vigor.
  • Success of PPPs in improved by regular communication, joint planning and problem solving, supervision, and training of key personnel.
  • A government that fails to deliver quality health services due to lack of administrative capacity is unlikely to be able to effectively contract for clinical of non-clinical services.

3.12 Paradox of the Welfare State and Dilemmas of Research in the Context of Developing Societies (Sharda Jain, University of Delhi)

Jain starts by providing a very useful overview of the welfare state including the concept and different models, various schools of thought about welfare (including two most helpful synthetic tables), and a classification. She then presents an analysis of the crisis of Western welfare states since the 1980 due to neo-conservative denigration of the state, globalization, oil shocks, stagflation, government deficits, demographic changes, the increased costs of health and social services, and declining tax revenues.

However the core of Jain’s paper is devoted to a critique of research on the welfare state and a call for change. She contends that existing research is too Western-centric and focused on developed country models; it manifests gender bias and is prejudiced against indigenous groups; it downplays the impact of religion on social policy; and concentrates too much on entrenched welfare institutions rather than on informal and incipient support structures. The major scholars and models of welfare are from the West and even Third World scholars complain about their countries not living up to these Western ideals. And, in reality, most developing states have only limited welfare orientations and the organized sector is so relatively small that its tax-base is very limited. In addition, widespread corruption, poor work ethics, political abuse and insensitivity to the needs of others hampers the emergence of a well-functioning welfare system. Preoccupation with state welfare undermined the role of women and familial forms of providing social care.

Jain’s main thesis is that, “Though a large number of these developing countries cannot afford a universal welfare state; their populations need social assistance and some kind of safety net to escape killing poverty and disease. How this can be provided should be the prioritized debating issue for social scientists and policy makers (p.7).” There is need for a holistic policy that takes into consideration the context including:

  • The important role of family, household and extended family for providing care and social security.
  • Like democracy, religion, race and ethnicity need to be studied for their impact on facilitating or blocking systemic state policies.
  • The need for comparative analysis between developing countries and the search for distinct patterns.
  • The possibility of including research on the impact of authoritarian regimes and of war and civil-strife on potential welfare policies.
  • In general there is a need to go beyond the income inequality hypothesis toward a broader conception of determinants of the needs for health and social security.

3.13 Do Private Market Models for Health Care Work: What is the Evidence? (Pauline Vaillancourt Roseneau, University of Texas)

One of the “cutting-edge” problems of modern societies is the public cost of health care and one of the questions most often asked is whether the private sector can do better. After having adopted health care as a national value, many countries tried to find ways of saving money when it became very expensive. Neo-conservatism told them to turn to the private sector to help lower costs, increase accessibility and improve quality of health care. Most developed countries have experimented with it in various forms over the past 25 years including the U.S. the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. However, after a systematic study of the research on the subject, Pauline Vaillancourt Rosenau finds there is no evidence that market competition has met its objectives in the health sector.

In addition, she finds actors in the market lack the necessary medical or economic skills, drive up demand, oblige the state to increase monitoring and regulatory expenses, and substantially augment financial, especially administrative, costs that are inherent in multi-payer systems. It is nonprofit providers that are the most cost effective.

Case studies with market competition in the U.S., Switzerland and the Netherlands have found them to be among the most expensive per person, per year health systems in the world. Insurance companies are not making a profit on basic policies in health insurance. Market competition has failed to reduce the cost-growth of the Medicare program in the United States. The private system also accompanies the decline in access to health insurance in the American population (17%) and the increase in under-insurance (29). On the other hand, in comparison with the public health system in Canada, researchers found that in general, Canadian were more like the insured Americans regarding access to services, and Canadians experience fewer unmet needs overall. Finally, a study of several OECD countries reports that private insurers have not been found to influence quality.

Rosenau asks the question of why policy makers continue to support market competition in the health system if it does not meet the traditional goals of cost containment, improved quality or increased access? She finds it is a question of politics. Because of ideological predispositions and party policies, new and different criteria are being substituted for the traditional ones. The new normative criteria are personal preference, increased choice and giving priority to individuals over society. Under such conditions, no research evidence can prove that private sector health is not viable. Lower public access and increased health system costs do not matter because individuals with the most “voice” experience gains under market competition. They pay for unconstrained choice of where they pay their money and generous supply. This also is though to make them feel participatory, empowered, and happier and in control – although some experimental data shows that greater consumer choice can in fact lead to stress, frustration and disappointment. Economic theory anticipates rational, not random, choice.


3.14 The State of Studies on Islamist Extremism in Southeast Asia – Focus on Indonesia (Bilveer Singh, National University of Singapore)

Few topics could be more ‘cutting-edge” than Islamist extremism in Southeast Asia, especially when combined with a paper than analyses the main thrust of writings by researchers from within the region. Bilveer Singh of the University of Singapore studies the increasing radicalization of Islam in Indonesia, especially just before and after the downfall of the Soeharto regime, in the context of the continuing ‘ideological battle’ in the country. He traces the roots of political Islam and its complex nexus with terrorism. He argues that while the mainstream of Indonesian Islam remains moderate and peaceful, a more radical orientation of political Islam has been on the rise, rendering the country prone to religious extremism and violence. The phenomenon of self-radicalization is increasingly raised.

To explain the rise of Islamic radicalism in Indonesia, Singh recalls that violent , minority, Islam radicalism has a long past in Indonesia going back to the Colonial period. In the recent past it was Soeharto’s authoritarian New Order that repressed political Islam and contributed to the radicalization of Muslim dissenters. After his regime, the emergence of the new liberated civil society entailed openness for all members and political Islam reemerged along with radical Islamic groups. They had both local and global roots. Western observers commonly blame extremism on Middle Eastern influences. The reality is more complex. First, there is a wide range of Islamist thinking and behaviour in the Middle East and it is dangerous to brand it all as radical. Second, most streams of Mid-East thinking find their way to Southeast Asia but undergo a process of indigenization.

So, one must look at other roots of militancy. Locally there are powerful grievances that are the main motive force. These include the belief Islam has been marginalized in national politics; the refusal to constitutionalize shari’a law; the inability of Muslim parties to win a majority; and the belief the state fosters Christianity. There is also a belief that there has been an economic sidelining of Muslims so they turn to the Islamic mode of development (including violence).

Radical Islamists are also disappointed with the international system which they perceive as being dominated by the West, particularly the United States which exhibits “double standards” of support for Israel but not, for example, for Bosnian Muslims. The U.S. also supports Arab secular governments that “repress” Muslim radicalism. Resentments and radicalism have long been fed by Saudi financial and organizational support and, more recently, by Islamist information on the Internet and satellite TV. The 1979 Iranian Revolution had a galvanizing effect but the internationalization of jihad from the late 1970s culminated in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan during the 1980s which was critical to the rise of extremism and terrorism in Southeast Asia. More than 300 and possibly as many as 600 Indonesians went through the mujahidin training camps. Money, explosives, technical expertise, and covert operational methods were available to Afghanistan veterans. This base was augmented by increasing numbers of Southeast Asian students returning from more puritanical and radical education in the Middle East. With all this came an important contradiction. The more globalization made Muslims aware of the social and cultural diversity of the Muslim ummah, the more there was a struggle between “hybridism” and the “authenticity” of the ‘Islamic Way’. With their identity at risk, the desire of ‘purists’ to reassert religious identity and social security fed directly into fundamentalism. Indigenous Islam in Indonesia is syncretic and hybrid and had to be purified by the fundamentalists, often of Arabic descent.

Finally, Singh looks at the issue of managing Islamist radicalism and terrorism. In fairly short order he disposes of the Huntington these of the “conflict of civilizations”. This thesis, which rarely refers to people, periods and events, is a reductive reference to the complexity of Islam, parts of which are “making a remarkable effort in many countries to give Muslim politics a civic, pluralist and even democratic face (p. 10).” The essentialist, unitary thesis of West against East only serves to obfuscate the real dynamics of the struggle over who gets to speak for Islam. It should be replaced by a rethinking of American foreign and economic policy toward Muslims (already underway by President Obama). More importantly, more attention should be devoted to addressing ethical and justice issues posed by global polarization of wealth, income, and power and, with them, huge asymmetries of life chances. The world needs a united front against injustice

3.15 Summary and Conclusion: Section 3, Cutting- Edge Areas of Research

So that no one will be disappointed, let me say from the outset that the papers put forward in this section were self-selected by their authors and Research Committees. They are a potpourri rather than a rigorous selection to truly represent all the discipline. Also, not everyone will agree that they represent their selection of what is going on at the “cutting-edge” of the discipline. Nevertheless, the papers are fascinating in their diversity and I have endeavored to stress what may be considered to be “cutting-edge” issues and approaches. The papers have the additional merit of offering a broad view or cross cut of what is going on in the discipline that we are unlikely to find in any one journal or book.

As a memory kicker here is the subject matter with which we are dealing with the titles of the papers in short form.

  • Political Atlas of the World (Polunin et al)
  • Critical Geopolitics (Dalby)
  • Religion and International Politics (Wessels)
  • Family Forms and Scales of Government (Harder)
  • Electronic Democracy (Kersting)
  • Political Finance (Pinto-Duschinsky)
  • Multi-level Governance and Federalism (Stein & Turkewitch)
  • National Parliaments and Europeanization (Kropp)
  • Local Governance and Party System Change (Holtmann)
  • Capacity Building in Legislative Assemblies (Hedlund et al)
  • Welfare State Research (Jain)
  • Public-Private Partnerships in Health Care (Bjoerkman)
  • Does the Market Work for Health Care (Rosenau)
  • Islamist Extremism in Southeast Asia (Singh)

To bring this disparate material together, let us ask three questions: what we have learnt, what picture or map does it give us of the issues, research approaches and policy advice considered to be on the “cutting-edge” of the discipline, and what are the problems that are placed on the table for the discipline?

3.15.1 The Lessons

Political science now has a number of large data sets covering the world that contain dozens of key variables, indexes, categories and classifications that allow us to more easily compare countries on both a static and dynamic basis. They also help us place countries on a continuum concerning various international issues such as the quality and the efficiency of the state, capacity to respond to threats, capacity for influence, public well-being, and democratic potential. Inevitably, these classifications will give rise to debates about their quality. Passing to the policy side of international relations, we learn of the importance of what has been called “geopolitical culture” that serves to construct and map threats, structures strategic thinking, and forms an “architecture of enmity” for the formulation of foreign policy. In particular, the notion of geopolitical culture presents a critical analysis of the hegemonic tendencies in the foreign policy of the world’s leading super-power. One of the major changes in international relations in recent decades has been the return of religion as a serious factor. This is because religion is no longer submerged under aesthetic ideologies and because globalization fosters mobile, boundary-free creeds, diasporas with irredentist tendencies, and contending minority religious communities in most countries. Ethnic, tribal, and religious identities explain much of what we call international relations and tension reduction will require the interaction of politics and religion.

Another major change, this time in domestic society, has been the reformulation of family structures and sexual relations. Ideology has not been foreign to this process. Both classical and neo-liberalism have unspoken assumptions about the families role in facilitating the interests of capitalism’s logic of private accumulation through household care and the preparation of workers. Neo-liberalism supports the nuclear family through its emphasis on individualism, freedom and a weakened state sector. Nevertheless, it leaves open to change an important site of contestation in which historical processes, political norms and moral values can assert themselves. Another immense field of change with political repercussions derives from information and electronic communication technology. The digital divide between rich and poor countries is still very significant but the problem is as much one of skills and motivation as it is access to technology. As regards democracy, research shows that on-line voting does not seem to stem voter apathy but it is hypothesized that participation rates can be increased through the judicious use of E-information, access and communication such as E-polls, web forums, news groups, chat pages, referenda and consulting and influencing government. The study of political finance of parties and elections and political corruption has become a huge industry. The flow of money and interest is having the contradictory affect of subtracting from the strictly academic study of the field and creating problems in the relations between funders and researchers.

Political scientists have added to their tool kit a new interest in multi-level governance rather than just the dualistic relations between national and international relations or central-provincial relations in federations. Multi-level governance corresponds to the much broader phenomenon of how globalization obliges public sector decision-making to be more dispersed, complex and widely shared between governmental and non-governmental actors. It is designed to distribute power while optimizing policy-making capacity. MLG allows for up to five rather than just two levels of governance, more flexibility in the allocation of policy responsibilities, and more over-lapping of competences and types of actors.

To understand the successes and failures over time of parliaments to preserve their stability and steering capacity, an alternate approach called “evolutionary institutionalism” has been proposed to take into account the interaction between legislatures and their changing external environment – particularly the electorate and the executive. It builds on a broad body of research around social, cultural and biological evolution and integrates history with social science theory-building. Degrees of institutionalization can be measured along two axes of ‘retention of properties’ and ‘adaptive capacity’. It is also found that change can be brought about in parliaments by informal networks of MPs working with the executive. NGOs are a vital source of policy information for MPs. Such influence improves perceptions of Parliaments carrying out their democratic roles. This research went beyond institutional processes to analyze individual behaviour and beliefs and the effects of coalitions. Local politics is another source of change from below in partisan politics and an example of the process of multi-level governance. Party dealignment and realignment can be engineered from below by “hidden” and “undercover” partisan lists for local councils. These “hybrid” actors from the local community interact with national parties bringing about flexible responses to social change.

Turning now to policy issues, we find another form of multi-level governance in the relatively new institutions called public-private partnerships (PPPs) – in this case in health care services. Research has provided a number of “policy lessons” for PPP contracts. Both public and private leadership is crucial as is managerial capacity. Pilot projects are proposed as are better documentation, decentralization and regular communications between the government and the private units. At the same time, it is noted that with PPPs government responsibilities increase, not decrease, and so must its administrative capabilities. Public facilities must be strengthened in tandem. Still in the field of health care, research has found that there is no evidence that market competition has lowered costs, increased accessibility or improved quality of health care. If policy makers continue to support private sector competition it is because they have changed the yard sticks – now the goals are personal preference, increased choice and giving priority to individuals over society, because it is these individual who have “voice”. More generally in the field of welfare, we find that most knowledge and research focuses on advanced Western societies. This is unfortunate because poor countries desperately need some kind of social services and safety nets. This should become the goal of governments and researchers and proposals are made in this sense.

The relationship between the West and the Muslim world is a policy issue of extreme importance. Here we have access to a body of research from Southeast Asia explaining Muslim radicalism which is on the rise, even if the strong majority is moderate. We are reminded that just as in the West, there is a wide range of Islamist thinking and that all trends undergo a process of indigenization in Southeast Asia. Paradoxically, although founded on real grievances, radicalism at present is stoked by the process of social and cultural diversification taking place in the Muslim ummah. Fundamentalists want to reverse this “hybrid” trend in the name of Islamic “authenticity”. We are advised that the essentialist “conflict of civilizations” thesis only serves to hide the struggle to know who will speak for Islam. What is called for to manage Muslim extremism, aside from modifications in American foreign policy, is a united front against the injustices of the global polarization of wealth and power.

3.15.2 Cutting-edge Research and Issues and Policy Advice

We have in these papers a good example of the diversity and eclecticism of modern political science – to say nothing of the vast range of subject matter the discipline must cover. In this case we just see the tip of the iceberg based on what Research Committees consider to be the cutting-edge of the discipline. The research covers all levels of politics from local, to regional to national and international and global. While most work concentrates on the West (and a great deal on Europe), there are also papers on the Third World and broad comparisons. Approaches include institutionalism, process, individualism, belief systems, ideologies, markets, comparison, informatics, policy studies and, now, multi-level governance and institutional evolution. There is a reaching out to include other disciplines and concepts such as biology, evolutionism, morality and history.

The issues that are attracting attention include: health care, family structures, sexuality, welfare, domination and imperialism, religion, fundamentalism, terrorism, democracy, legislatures, parties, political finance and corruption, ideologies, political culture and the digital divide. Among the newer research topics are large data sets, multi-level governance, biological evolution, local impacts on change, and institutional evolution.

Of significance, the research in seven papers drew conclusions that propose policy and research recommendations. We have already seen a summary of the policy lessons for Public-Private Partnerships, private health care, institutional evolution research model, E-democracy and the management of Muslim militancy. Below we will see proposals for the discipline concerning research on welfare and political finance. Still we only have four sets of policy recommendations that would be recognized by the public. The rest of the papers are addressed to the discipline.

3.15.3 Problems Posed for the Discipline

  • Large-N studies should specify to a greater degree what they are trying to explain.
  • To better understand foreign policy, geopolitical culture needs to be linked to political economy.
  • A greater effort needs to be made to direct “cutting-edge” research toward practical policy issues so that they will not just be high-level descriptions.
  • A research agenda is required for the concept of E-government.
  • When accepting research funding, researchers must be very circumspect and leave space for their own academic research. Researchers should be aware some agencies choose consultants: for results which are to their liking; for their congruence of views; because they know what is expected of them (hatchet job or praise); or to provide simplistic devices. In addition, agencies may withhold payment over disagreements, plagiarize, and impose harmful conditions of confidentiality. “Forewarned is forearmed”. (Pinto-Duschinsky)
  • Research is still Western-centric.
  • To make research on welfare more oriented to developing countries it should: be more south-south comparative; take into consideration the total context; include family social security and health care; study the effects of race, religion and ethnicity, and go beyond simple income inequality. (Jain)
  • Current concepts of multi-level governance are criticized for being too descriptive; exaggerating the importance of sub-national actors; artificially ignoring structures; lacking a clear conceptual focus; stretching the concept to cover any multifaceted process; and giving priority to problem- solving capacity over democratic accountability in policy-making. (Stein & Turkewitch)

Special Recommendations to the IPSA

The association should consider taking a more pro-active role in counseling their members and supporting their research activities. Along with its research committees, the IPSA could provide information to their members about how funding bodies operate and safeguards they should put in place. They might have an interesting role as partners in projects to help represent and protect the interests of scholars. There is also a potential role for systematic mentoring and tutorial arrangements, both face-to-face and on the Internet. RCs provide a vital forum for contacts and nurturing. Along with the IPSA Executive and Secretariat they should investigate ways to expand this work in novel and economical ways.
(Michael Pinto-Duschinsky)

Susan Scarrow (2007) raises the question with Pinto-Duschinsky whether the ivory tower may turn out to have more practical value than a consciously policy-relevant approach. Surely this opens for the Association the meaning and the context of the notion of “relevance”. Does it raise the question of the academy doing what policy-makers cannot do for themselves? Are the obligations of the researcher to policy-makers or to society, governance and democracy? Is our job to be simply empirical or judgmental or must we strive to be critical, wise, balanced and far-sighted.

Bibliography 1
IPSA Conference Program
Concordia University, Montreal (Quebec), Canada
April 30 – May 2, 2008

International Political Science:

New Theoretical and Regional Perspectives


1. Epistemological Foundations and Methodology

Introductory Paper: BECK, Nathaniel (New York University)
Statement: POTEETE, Amy R. (Concordia University, RC 1)
Statement: CALISE, Mauro (Italian PSA)
Statement: UJO, A. A. (University of Abuja)
Statement: McFALLS, Laurence (University of Montréal, RC 1)
Statement: RIHOUX, Benoit (Belgian PSA).

2. Political Theory

Chair: Bertrand BADIE
Introductory Paper: INOGUCHI, Takashi (University of Tokyo)
Statement: WHITEHEAD, Laurence (Nuffield College, RC 13)
Statement: BAUMEISTER, Andrea (University of Stirling, RC 31)
Statement: CURRY, Jane (Santa Clara University, RC 16)

3. Political Sociology

Introductory Paper: LAGOS, Marta (MORI Chile)
Statement: FAUCHER-KING, Florence (Vanderbilt University, RC 6)
Statement: HIGLEY, John (University of Texas, Austin, RC 2)

4. Governance and Public Policies

Chair: Leonardo MORLINO
Introductory Paper: PETERS, Guy (University of Pittsburgh)
Statement: SCHNEIER, Edward (City University of New York, RC 8)
Statement: COLEBATCH, Hal (APSA/Robert Gordon University, RC 32)
Statement : PAL, Leslie A. (Carleton University, RC 32)
Statement : LA BRANCHE, Stéphane (IEP Grenoble, RC 46)

Lecture by John TRENT (University of Ottawa)
“Issues and Trends in Political Science: 
Perspectives from the World of Political Science Book Series”

5. Comparative Politics

Chair: Leonardo MORLINO
Introductory Paper: MATTES, Robert (University of Capetown)
Statement: WAELTI, Sonja (American University, RC 28)
Statement: ARAT, Zehra F. (Purchase College, SUNY, RC 26)
Statement: SADIE, Yolanda (University of Johannesburg, RC 7)

6. International Relations

Chair: Bertrand BADIE
Introductory Paper: CARLSNAES, Walter (University of Uppsala)/HELLMANN, Gunther (University of Frankfurt)
Statement: ATTINA, Fulvio (Italian PSA)
Statement: GUELKE, Adrian (Queen’s University of Belfast, RC 14)
Statement: GAL-OR, Noemi (Kwantlen University, RC 40)


Panel 1: Asia and the Pacific / Africa

Chair: Hideo Otake, Luc Sindjoun

Paper by SAWER, Marian (Executive Committee) “Political Science in Australasia”

Paper by OYUGI, Walter (University of Nairobi): “Political Science in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda)”

Paper by LEE, Chung Hee/KIM, Kee Seok(Korean PSA): “The State of Political Science in Korea”

Paper by CHOU, Yujen (Chinese PSA): “Political Science in the Republic of China (Taiwan)”

Paper by TANIGUCHI, Masaki (Japanese PSA): “The State of Political Science in Japan”

Paper by CHATURVEDI, Madhukar Shyam (Indian PSA): “The State of Political Science in India”

Paper by LEE, Lai To/SINGH, Bilveer (PSA Singapore): « Political Science in Singapore »

Paper by HOLMES, Ronald D. (Philippine PSA) “The State of Political Science in the Philippines”

Paper by SEBUDUBUDU, David (University of Botswana): “Political Science in Botswana”

Panel 2: Latin America / North America

Chair: Maria Herminia Tavares de Almeida

Paper by FERNANDEZ, Arturo (SAAP Argentina): “Political Science in Argentina”

Paper by JOHNSTON, Richard (Canadian PSA): “Political Science in Canada”

Paper by Tavares de Almeida, Maria Herminia/ PINHEIRO, Leticia (Brazilian PSA): “Political Science in Brazil”

Paper by BRINTNALL, Michael/AFFIGNE, Tony (APSA): “The State of Political Science in the United States”

Panel 3: Europe (I)

Chair: Max KAASE, Tatyana PARKHALINA

Paper by RIHOUX, Benoit (Belgian PSA, Communauté Française) : “Political Science in a Small, Open Country: Belgium”

Paper by HOLZER, Jan (Czech PSA): “Political Science in the Czech Republic”

Paper by PETTAI, Vello (ECPR Executive Committee): “Political Science in Estonia”

Paper by BERNDTSON, Erkki (Finnish PSA): “Political Science in Finland”

Paper by Yves DELOYE/Nonna MAYER (French PSA): “Political Science in France”

Paper by SCHUETTEMEYER, Suzanne S./WURM, Felix W. (German PSA): “Political Science in Germany”

Paper by SEFERIADES, Seraphim (Hellenic PSA): “Political Science in Greece”

Paper by CAPANO, Giliberto/VERZICHELLI, Luca (Italian PSA): “Political Science in Italy”

Paper by KLINGEMANN, Hans-Dieter (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin): “Towards an Integration of Political Science in Europe?”

Panel 4: Europe (II)

Chair: Wyn P. GRANT, Irmina MATONYTE

Paper by JAKNIUNAITE, Dovilé/VINOGRADNAITE, Inga (Lithuanian PSA): “The Development of Political Science in a Small State: The Case of Lithuania”

Paper by POIRIER, Philippe (Luxemburg PSA): “Political Science in Luxemburg”

Paper by SOLHAUG, Trond (RC 21): “Political Science in Norway”

Paper by SASINSKA-KLAS, Teresa (Polish PSA): “Political Science as an Academic Discipline in Poland: Past & Present”

Paper by ILYIN, Mikhail/MALINOVA, Olga (Russian PSA): “Political Science in Russia”

Paper by PREBILIC, Vladimir/ZAJC, Drago (Slovenian PSA): “Political Science in Slovenia”

Paper by LLERA, Francisco/ONATE, Pablo (Spanish PSA): “The Development of Political Science in Spain”

Paper by TURAN, Ilter (Program Chair, XXI IPSA World Congress): “The State of Political Science in Turkey“

Paper by SAEZ, Lawrence/HARRISON, Lisa (PSA of the UK): “Political Studies in the United Kingdom: A 21st Century Health Check”


Panel 1: International Politics, Globalization and Democracy

Chair: Lourdes SOLA

Paper by POLUNIN, Y. A./MIRONYUK, M. G./TIMOFEEV, I. N. (Moscow State Institute of International Relations): “Political Atlas of the World: Understanding the Non-Linear Dynamics of World Politics”

Paper by DALBY, Simon (Carleton University, RC 15): “Imperialism, Domination, Culture: The Relevance of Critical Geopolitics”

Paper by WESSELS, David (Sophia University, RC 43): “Religion in International Politics”

Paper by TEUNE, Henry (University of Pennsylvania, RC 47) “Comparing the Local in the Open Global System”

Paper by OSTROWSKI, Krzysztof (Pultusk Academy of Humanities, RC 47): “Democratization in National and Global Systems (Research Findings)”

Paper by CARVER, Terrell (University of Bristol, RC 49): “Materializing the Metaphors of Global Capitalism and Democratic Resistance”

Panel 2: Political Sociology and Political Socialisation

Chair: Jorge Heine

Paper by IGNAZI, Piero (University of Bologna, RC 6): “The Resilience of Class and Religion in Established Democracies”

Paper by SOMIT, A. /PETERSON, St. A. (Pennsylvania State University, RC 12): “Biology and Politics: Cross-Field Linkages”

Paper by HARDER, Lois (University of Alberta, RC 52): “The Public Character of Intimate Life: National Membership, Family Forms, and Scales of Governance”

Paper by HAUSSMAN, Melissa (Carleton University, RC 19): “Opportunities for Pro- and Anti-Feminist Activism in North American Federal States”

Paper by ANDREW, Caroline (University of Ottawa, RC 19): “Interscalar Strategies around the Organizing for Women’s Safety”

Panel 3: Electoral Politics and Political Financing

Chair: Marian SAWER

Paper by STANTON, Richard (University of Sydney, RC 22): “MySpace Telecommunications as Campaign Strategy in Australia’s 2007 Federal Election Campaign”

Paper by ALDE, Alessandra (U do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, RC 22): “Brazilian Elections: The Role of Political Opinion Weblogs”

Paper by KERSTING, Norbert (University of Marburg, RC 10): “Electronic Democracy in Comparative Perspective”

Paper by HOFNUNG, Menachem (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, RC 20): “Political Finance Regulation: The Comparative Advantage”

Paper by PINTO-DUSCHINSKY, Michael (Brunel University, RC 20): “Public Policy and the Study of Political Finance”

Panel 4: Levels of Governance and Public Policies

Chair: Leslie A. Pal

Paper by STEIN, Michael (University of Toronto, RC 28)/ TURKEWITSCH, Lisa (University of Toronto): “The Concept of ‘Multilevel Governance’ in Studies of Federalism”

Paper by KROPP, Sabine (University of Düsseldorf, German PSA): “Delegation and Accountability in Europeanized National Parliaments”

Paper by HOLTMANN, Everhard (University of Halle, German PSA): “Local Governance and Party Systems Change: A Cross-National Perspective”

Paper by Hedlund, Ronald D./PATZELT, Werner J./OLSON, David M. (Northeastern University/University of Dresden/University of North Carolina, RC 8): “Capacity Building in Parliaments and Legislatures”

Paper by JAIN, Sharda (University of Delhi, RC 39): “Paradox of Welfare State and Dilemmas of Research in the Context of Developing Societies”

Paper by BJOERKMAN, J. W. (The Hague Institute of Social Studies, RC 25): “Public-Private Partnerships in Health Care Services of Less Developed Countries”

Paper by ROSENAU, Pauline Vaillancourt (University of Texas, RC 25): “Do Private Market Models for Health Care Work: What Is the Evidence?”

Panel 5: Civil-Military Relations, Terrorism, and the Protection of Human Rights

Chair: Daniel Tarschys

Paper by KENKEL, Kai M. (Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Rio de Janeiro, RC 24)/WOOD, Kathryn L. (San José State University, RC 24): “Soldiers in Politics: The State of the Field in the World’s Regions”

Paper by KING, Preston (Morehouse College Atlanta, RC 31): “Managing the Terrorist Challenge to Democracy”

Paper by SUNGUROV, Alexander (St. Petersburg Center for Political Studies, RC 26): “Terrorism and Human Rights: The Chechen Conflict”

Paper by SINGH, Bilveer (PSA Singapore): “The State of Studies on Islamist Extremism in Southeast Asia”.

Bibliography 2
IPSA Conference
International Political Science:
New Theoretical and Regional Perspectives

Presentations by Speaker

Affigne, Anthony The State of Political Science in the United States 2.2

Attina, Fulvio International Relations as "Normal" Political Science 1.6

Beck, Nathaniel Current Issues and Accomplishments in (portions of) Political Methodology 1.1

Berg-Schlosser, Dirk Epistemological Foundations and Methodology (Chair), 1.1

Berndtson, Erkki Political Science in Finland 2.3

Bjoerkman, James Public-Private Partnerships in Health Care Services of Less Developed Countries, 3.4

Brintnall, Michael The State of Political Science in the United States 2.2

Capano, Giliberto Political Science in Italy 2.3

Chou, Yujen The State of Political Science in Taiwan (1994-2008) 2.1

Colebatch, Hal Governance and Public policy: Statement, 1.4

Dalby, Simon, Imperialism, Domination, Culture: The Relevance of Critical Geopolitics,3.1

Déloye Yves Political Science in France 2.3

Fernández, Arturo Political Science in Argentina 2.2

Gal-O,r Noemi Is Trans-disciplinary Dialogue Possible? 1.6

Guelke, Adrian The impact on ethno-nationalism of changing interpretations of international norms, 1.6

Harder, Lois The Public Character of Intimate Life: National Membership, Family Forms, and Scales of Governance, 3.2

Harrison, Lisa Political Studies in the UK: a 21st Century health Check, 2.4

Hedlund, Ronald Capacity Building in Parliaments and Legislatures 3.4

Hellmann, Gunther Introductory paper, International Relation, 1.6

Higley, John Elite Theory in Political Sociology 1.3

Holtmann, Everhard  Local Governance and Party Systems Change: A Cross-National Perspective 3.4

Holzer, Jan Political Science in the Czech Republic 2.3

Hsiao, Luke State of Political Science in Taiwam (1994-2008) 2.1

Inoguchi, Takashi Political Theory – Conversations between “Ought to” and “Is” 1.2

Jain, Sharda  Paradox of Welfare State and Dilemmas of

Jakniunaite, Dovile  Research in the Context of Developing Societies 3.4
The Development of Political Science in a Small
State: The Case of Lithuania 2.4

Johnston, Richard Political Science in Canada 2.2

Kenkel, Kai Michael  Soldiers in Politics: the State of the Field in the World's Regions 3.5

Kersting, Norbert Electronic Democracy in Comparative Perspective 3.3

Kim, Keeseok The State of Political Science in Korea 2.1

King Preston Managing the Terrorist Challenge to Democracy 3.5

Klingemann, Hans-Dieter Towards an Integration of Political Science in Europe? 2.3

Kropp, Sabine Delegation and Accountability in Europeanized National Parliaments 3.4

Lee, Chung Hee The State of Political Science in Korea 2.1

Lee, Lai To Political Science in Singapore 2.1

Malinova, Olga Political Science in Russia 2.4

Mayer, Nonna Political Science in France 2.3

Mironyuk, Mikhail  Political Atlas Of The World: Understanding The Non-Linear Dynamics Of The World Politics 3.1

Olson, David M. Capacity Building in Parliaments and Legislatures 3.4

Ostrowski, Krzysztof  Democratization in National and Global Systems (Research Findings) 3.1

Patzelt Werner Capacity Building in Parliaments and Legislatures 3.4

Peters, B. Guy Governance Through the Political System: Making and Implementing Policy 1.4

Peterson, Steven Biology and Politics: Cross-Field Linkages 3.2

Pinheiro, Leticia Political Science in Brazil 2.2

Pinto-Duschinsky, Michael Public Policy and the Study of Political Finance 3.3

Poirier, Philippe Political Science in Luxemburg 2.4

Polunin Yury Political Atlas Of The World: Understanding The Non-Linear Dynamics Of The World Politics 3.1

Poteete, Amy  Challenges of Broadly Comparative Field-Based Research 1.1

Rihoux, Benoît  The State of Methodological Debates in the Discipline: Unilateralism or Multilateralism 1.1

Rihoux, Benoît  Political Science in a Small, Open Country: Belgium 2.3

Rosenau, Pauline Do Private Market Models for Health Care Work: What is the Evidence? 3.4

Saez, Lawrence  Political Studies in the UK: a 21st Century health Check 2.4

Sasinska-Klas, Teresa  Political Science as an Academic Discipline in Poland: Past & Present 2.4

Sawer, Marian Political Science in Australasia 2.1

Schuettemeyer, Suzanne S. Political Science in Germany 2.3

Sebudubudu, David Comparative Politics in Africa 1.5

Sebudubudu, David Political Science in Africa 2.1

Seferiades, Seraphim Political Science in Greece 2.3

Singh, Bilveer Political Science in Singapore 2.1

Singh, Bilveer The State of Studies on Islamist Extremism in Southeast Asia 3.5

Solhaug, Trond Political Science in Norway 2.4

Somit, Albert Biology and Politics: Cross-Field Linkages 3.2

Stein, Michael The Concept of “Multilevel Governance” in Studies of Federalism 3.4

Sungurov, Alexander, Terrorism and Human Rights: The Chechen Conflict 3.5

Taniguchi, Masaki The State of Political Science in Japan 2.1

Teune, Henry Comparing the Local in the Open Global System 3.1

Timofeev, Ivan Political Atlas Of The World: Understanding The Non-Linear Dynamics Of The World Politics 3.1

Turan, Ilter The State of Political Science in Turkey 2.4

Turkewitsch, Lisa The Concept of “Multilevel Governance” in Studies of Federalism 3.4

Verzichelli, Luca Political Science in Italy 2.3

Vinogradnaite, Inga The Development of Political Science in a Small State: The Case of Lithuania 2.4

Wessels, David Religion in International Politics 3.1

Bibliography 3

Additional non-program references from the papers

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Albert, Mathias (2007). “Globalization Theory: Yesterday’s Fad or More Lively Than Ever?, International Political Sociology 1(2):165-182.

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Bache, Ian and Matthew Flinders, eds. (2004). Multi-level Governance, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Barry, B (2003). “The Study of Politics as a Vocation”, in J. Hayward, B. Barry, & A. Brown, The British Study of Politics in the 20th Century, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Becher, T. & M. Kogan (2001 2nd ed.). Process and Structure in Higher Education, London, Routledge.

Bennett, Andrew and G. John Ikenberry (2006).”The Review’s Evolving Relevance for U.S. Foreign Policy 1906-2006”, American Political Science Review, 100(4):651-58>

Bilgin, Pinar (2008). “Thinking Past Western IR”, Third World Quartery,29(1):5-23.

Bleek, Wilhelm (2001). Geschichte der Politilwissenschaft in Deutschland, Munchen, Beck.

Blondel, Jean and Takashi Inoguchi (2006). Political Cultures in Asia and Europe: Citizens, States and Societal Values, New York, Routledge.

Boot, Max (2003). The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, New York, Basic Books.

Borzel, Tanja A. and M.O. Hosli (2003). “Brussels Between Bonn and Berlin: Comparative Federalism Meets the European Union”, Governance, 16(2):179-202

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[1] The term “national studies” is, of course, a shorthand. All the papers were written by people chosen by the national associations but do not claim to speak for them. Other authors might have arrived at other conclusiona and interpretations. The important factor is that all the papers are based on previous studies of the discipline and considerable empirical evidence.

[2] For the sake of brevity, I will normally only give one of many examples and will refer to the country paper which one can find in the Program of the Conference, that is, Bibliography 1, where one will also find the names of the authors.