Notes on a Theory…

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

Posts Tagged ‘behavioralism

Description, Explanation and Social Science

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I recently started reading The Unheavenly Chorus by Schlotzman, Verba and Nie. It’s an interesting book addressing inequalities in ‘political voice,’ which focuses not solely on the individual level but combines this with the organizational level. The title is a reference to E. E. Schattschneider’s famous line “The flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper-class accent.”

While I plan to have more to say about what the book has to say about inequality, for now I wanted to highlight their discussion of explanation and description in social science.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by David Kaib

October 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm

The Claim of Representation

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Capitol-SenateI’ve been talking a lot about politics as contested claim making, and how taking formal ideas like judicial review and democracy for granted distorts our understanding of politics. Related is the idea that a lot of analytic terms are really just justifications for the status quo, and we’d be better off finding a different set of terms that aren’t tied to such justifications.

This is different from the standard story of politics science, which says that the discipline used to confuse normative ideas for empirical ones, until the behavioralists (pdf) severed the ties between the two, thus truly becoming a science. Since that time, political theory (in essence, the study of normative ideas) has been a sort of odd fit in the discipline–not unlike judicial politics, although for different reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by David Kaib

January 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

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