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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

The Relevance of Political Science

ISBN 9780230201088
Publication Date April 2015
Formats Hardcover Ebook Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave
Series Political Analysis

What does political science tell us about important real-world problems and issues? And to what extent does and can political analysis contribute to solutions? Debates about the funding, impact and relevance of political science in contemporary democracies have made this a vital and hotly contested topic of discussion, and in this original text authors from around the world respond to the challenge.

A robust defence is offered of the achievements of political science research, but the book is not overly sanguine given its sustained recognition of the need for improvement in the way that political science is done. New insights are provided into the general issues raised by relevance, into blockages to relevance, and into the contributions that the different subfields of political science can and do make. The book concludes with a new manifesto for relevance that seeks to combine a commitment to rigour with a commitment to engagement.

Gerry Stoker is Professor of Politics, University of Southampton, UK and Centenary Professor at the University of Canberra, Australia.

Jon Pierre is Professor of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

B. Guy Peters is Maurice Falk Professor of Government, University of Pittsburgh, USA.

Introduction; the Editors
1. Challenging Three Blockages to Relevance and Political Science: the Obvious, the Avoidable and the Thorny; Gerry Stoker
2. The Relevance of Relevance; John Gerring
3. Relevant to whom? Relevant for what? The Role and Public Responsibility of the Political Analyst; Colin Hay
4. The Rediscovery of the Political Imagination; Matthew Flinders
5. Guilty as Charged? Human Well-Being and the Unsung Relevance of Political Science; Bo Rothstein
6. Why Did Nobody Warn US? Political Science and the Crisis; Graham Wilson
7. The Relevance of the Academic Study of Public Policy; Sarah Giest, Michael Howlett and Ishani Mukherjee
8. Why Political Theory Matters; Thom Brooks
9. Constructivism and Interpretive Approaches: Especially Relevant or Especially Not?; Craig Parsons
10. Is Comparative Politics Useful? If so, for What?; B. Guy Peters
11. Can Political Science Solve the Puzzles of Global Governance?; Jon Pierre
12. Maximising the Relevance of Political Science for Public Policy in the Era of Big Data; Helen Margetts
Conclusion; the Editors.


This stimulating volume bring together a host of well-known scholars to consider how, when and why political science contributes - or fails to contribute - policy-relevant insights to real-world concerns.' - Pippa Norris, Harvard University, USA, and the University of Sydney, Australia
'The call for relevance has been made ever more strongly in recent years. Few political scientists would disagree with this laudable aim, but they often do not know what relevance is, whether it is always to be preferred, and how to be relevant. The Relevance of Political Science ably answers these questions and many more. It addresses core intellectual issues about the nature of our discipline and offers solutions about how to broaden and deepen the intellectual endeavour.' - Peter John, University College London, UK
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