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Purpose – This chapter discusses the increased acceptance of biopolitical research by mainstream political science and examines the potential causes. It demonstrates that…
Purpose – This chapter discusses the increased acceptance of biopolitical research by mainstream political science and examines the potential causes. It demonstrates that the changing status of biopolitics is part of a more general pattern in academia, where biological explanations of social phenomena are increasingly viewed as acceptable and even necessary.
Design/methodology/approach – A brief review of the history of the literature of biopolitics with a content analysis of the three leading general-readership journals of political science and other measures of activity in biopolitics.
Findings – Political scientists until recently have not been receptive to the arguments advanced by proponents of biopolitics, but this resistance is weakening. This case for a more biologically oriented political science is more tenable now in part because of the groundwork done by the early generation of biopolitics scholars but mainly because of changing circumstances.
Purpose – This chapter provides one aspect of the organizational side of the biology and politics enterprise.Design/methodology/approach – This chapter…
Purpose – This chapter provides one aspect of the organizational side of the biology and politics enterprise.
Design/methodology/approach – This chapter provides a historical description of two organizations that help to structure the “business” of biology and politics: The International Political Science Association’s (IPSA) Research Committee #12 and the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences (APLS).
Findings – Research Committee #12 had its origins in the early 1970s, whereas APLS came about in the later 1970s. The discussion of these two organizations gives the reader a better sense of the twin enterprises. In the process of discussing APLS, the chapter also outlines the contributions of its professional journal, Politics and the Life Sciences.
Originality/value – Seldom has there been a detailed discussion of these two organizations in one place.
Turning laborious ethnographic research into stylized argumentative prose for academic consumption is a painstaking craft. The purpose of this paper is to revisit this…
Turning laborious ethnographic research into stylized argumentative prose for academic consumption is a painstaking craft. The purpose of this paper is to revisit this perennial issue, and extend a claim the authors have made elsewhere about the inevitably impressionistic, rather than the oft-claimed “systematic”, nature of this task.
The authors draw and reflect on their own experiences of conducting and navigating across political science, ethnography and interpretation in order to justify and uphold the benefits of impressionism.
The authors argue that the impressionistic account of writing up fieldwork has important implications for these diverse disciplinary terrains.
The authors develop an argument as to how and why an appreciation of this craft’s impressionistic nature can affect how the authors go about creating, evaluating and ultimately thinking about ethnographic research in foreign disciplines like political science.
The 2005 APSR article by John Alford, Carolyn Funk, and John Hibbing presented data from the Virginia 30,000 Health & Lifestyle Questionnaire (VA30K), AARP twin studies, and an Australian twin study (ATR) to test their hypothesis that political attitudes are influenced by genetic as well as environmental factors. Political attitudes, they suggested, were expected to be highly heritable and particularly so on issues most correlated with personality. They employed survey responses from the Wilson–Patterson Attitude Inventory to measure political attitudes. To gauge heritability, they utilize the 2:1 genetic ratio between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins. The authors argued that while previous studies in political attitudes had concentrated on measuring the influence of environmental variables, their test added explanatory power by considering heritability (Alford, Funk, & Hibbing, 2005).
Public administration as an aspect of governmental activity has existed as long as political systems have been functioning and trying to achieve program objectives set by the political decision-makers. Public administration as a field of systematic study is much more recent. Advisers to rulers and commentators on the workings of government have recorded their observations from time to time in sources as varied as Kautilya's Arthasastra in ancient India, the Bible, Aristotle's Politics, and Machiavelli's The Prince, but it was not until the eighteenth century that cameralism, concerned with the systematic management of governmental affairs, became a specialty of German scholars in Western Europe. In the United States, such a development did not take place until the latter part of the nineteenth century, with the publication in 1887 of Woodrow Wilson's famous essay, “The Study of Administration,” generally considered the starting point. Since that time, public administration has become a well-recognized area of specialized interest, either as a subfield of political science or as an academic discipline in its own right.
Over the last decades, the social sciences have become increasingly concerned with the role of the state and the politics of institutional restructuring. Within mainstream…
Over the last decades, the social sciences have become increasingly concerned with the role of the state and the politics of institutional restructuring. Within mainstream political science this has led to the development of a “state-centered” research program that emphasizes the autonomy of institutions. Marxist theory, however, has continued to adhere to a “society-centered” perspective, seeking to combine an ability to account for institutional change with the analysis of more structural social and economic forces. After some introductory comments that frame the problematic within which the paper is situated (Section 1), I discuss in Section 2 three of the most important recent Marxist attempts to construe the relation between socio-economic imperatives and political institutions. My argument is that Marxists’ attempts to relativize the autonomy of state institutions are too often still based on the postulation of an unexplained structural moment. This leaves them vulnerable to institutionalist claims concerning the autonomous nature of institutions. Section 3 proposes a different way of thinking the role of institutions in capitalist society. This approach breaks with a causalist, structuralist mode of explanation and relies on a more hermeneutic understanding of the role of institutions. I will shift the problematic to the relation between institutions and agency, arguing for a more pragmatist understanding of the role of institutions and an agency-based understanding of the formation of socio-economic imperatives. Section 4 concludes with some thoughts on the prospects held out, as well as the challenges faced, by the approach proposed in this paper.
Purpose – The chapter provides background for the reader, lending context to the aims of this book.
Design/methodology/approach – This chapter begins by placing the study of biology and politics in a larger framework. It also compares and contrasts the biological perspective of politics with the mainstream view. Finally, the chapter orients the reader by providing a brief summary of the volume’s contents.
Findings – An introductory chapter would seldom provide findings. However, its goal is to provide the reader with context.