Political Science Now

Restructuring the Social Sciences? A Reflection from the Editor of Perspectives on Politics

Jeffrey C. Isaac, Indiana University, Bloomington

Gary King’s “Restructuring Social Science: Reflections from Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science” (PS: Political Science and Politics 47(1)165–73) is an honest reflection on King’s experience as founder of a successful research institute. Our discipline needs more serious refl ection about how we work and what we can learn from each other. In the spirit of such reflexivity I am moved to reflect on King’s piece, and to off er an alternative account. My account is also based on extensive experience, as the longtime editor in chief of Perspectives on Politics (going on six years) and the even longer time editor of the Perspectives Book Review (going on 10 years). This experience leads me to support an emphatically humanistic and pluralistic conception of political science.

REFLECTIONS ON KING’S REFLECTION
King begins straightforwardly: “The social sciences are in the midst of an historic change, with large parts moving from the humanities to the sciences in terms of research style, infrastructural needs, data availability, empirical methods, substantive understanding, and the ability to make swift and dramatic progress…”

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Restructuring the Social Sciences? A Reflection from the Editor of Perspectives on Politics /PS: Political Science & Politics Virtual Issue / Volume 47 / Issue 02 / April 2014, pp 279-283