Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5959bf8d4d-4p99k Total loading time: 0.409 Render date: 2022-12-10T05:36:12.655Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Offensive Political Theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 June 2010

Andrew Rehfeld
Affiliation:
Washington University in St. Louis

Abstract

Penn State's decision to eliminate political theory set off existential angst about the status of political theory in the discipline. The organized, defensive responses to that decision failed to answer the central question it posed: Is “political theory” social science, and if not, why does it belong? I argue that social scientific political theory is political science and its many strains—conceptual, normative, and explanatory—belong in the discipline on their own terms. Humanistic research, like dermatology or music theory, is not political science and as such it should find another home. By explaining why (and what kinds of) political theory is political science this article may wind up being offensive in both senses of the word. But it is meant to be in service to a more secure, stable, and productive interdisciplinary future for all kinds of political theory going forward.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Almond, Gabriel A. 1966. “Political Theory and Political Science.” The American Political Science Review 60(4): 869879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Anderson, Elizabeth. 1993. Value in Ethics and Economics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Ankersmit, Frank R. 2002. Political Representation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Barber, Benjamin. 2006. “The Politics of Political Science: ‘Value-Free’ Theory and the Wolin-Strauss Dust-Up of 1963.” American Political Science Review 100(4): 539545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barry, Brian. 2002. “Why Political Science Needs Political Theory.” Scandinavian Political Studies 25(2): 107115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berlin, Isaiah. 1997. “Does Political Theory Still Exist?” In The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays, eds. Hardy, Henry and Hausheer, Roger. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
Boghossian, Paul. 2006. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bohman, James. 1991. New Philosophy of Social Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Cameron, James. (Director). 2009. Avatar [Motion Picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox.Google Scholar
Comte, Auguste. 1988. Introduction to Positive Philosophy. Indianapolis, Indianna: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
Dahl, Robert A. 2002. “What Have We Learned?” In Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics, eds. Shapiro, Ian, Smith, Rogers M., and Masoud, Tarek E.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Dryzek, John S. 2005. “A Pox on Perestroika, A Hex on Hegemony: Toward a Critical Political Science.” In Perestroika! The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science, ed. Monroe, Kristen Renwick. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Easton, David. 1953. The Political System: An Inquiry into the State of Political Science. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
Elkin, Stephen. 2006. Reconstructing the Commercial Republic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Farr, James. 2003. “Political Science.” In The Modern Social Sciences, eds. Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross. Cambridge History of Science 7. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Flyvbjerg, Bent. 2001. Making Social Science Matter. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foley, Richard. 1987. The Theory of Epistemic Rationality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Freeden, Michael. 2005. “What should the ‘Political’ in Political Theory Explore?The Journal of Political Philosophy 13(2): 113134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gallie, W.B. 1956. “Essentially Contested Concepts.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56: 167198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Godfrey-Smith, Peter. 2003. Theory and Reality: an introduction to the philosophy of science. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goertz, Gary. 2006. Social Science Concepts: A User's Guide. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Goodin, Robert E., and Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, eds. 1996. A New Handbook of Political Science. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Goodman, Nelson. 1973. Fact, Fiction and Forecast, 3rd ed. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.Google Scholar
Grant, Ruth. 2002. “Political Theory, Political Science, and Politics.” Political Theory 30(4): 577–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, Donald, and Shapiro, Ian. 1994. Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory: A Critique of Applications in Political Science. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Greenberg, Daniel. 1999. The Politics of Pure Science, new ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Greenberg, Daniel. 2003. Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Hare, R. M. 1989. “What is wrong with slavery?” In Essays on Political Morality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Hauptman, Emily. 2006. “From Accommodation to Opposition: How Rockefeller Foundation Grants Redefined Relations between Political Theory and Social Science in the 1950s.” American Political Science Review 100(4): 643649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heilbron, Johan. 2003. “Social Thought and Natural Science.” In The Modern Social Sciences, eds. Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross. The Cambridge History of Science 7. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hempel, Carl. 1966. Philosophy of Natural Science. New York: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
Jacobs, Jerry A. 2009. “Interdisciplinary Hype.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 56(14), http://chronicle.com/article/Interdisciplinary-Hype/49191/ (accessed January 15, 2010).Google Scholar
Katznelson, Ira, and Milner, Helen V.. 2002. “American Political Science: The Discipline's State and the State of the Discipline.” In Political Science: The State of the Discipline, eds. Katznelson, Ira and Milner, Helen V.. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
Kelly, Paul. 2006. “Political Theory—The State of the Art.” Politics 26(1): 4753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keohane, Robert O. 2009. “Political Science as a Vocation.” PS: Political Sceince and Politics 42(2): 359363.Google Scholar
Kettler, David. 2005. “The Political Theory Question in Political Science, 1956–1967.” The American Political Science Review 100(4): 531537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
King, Gary, Keohane, Robert O., and Verba, Sidney. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Kuhn, Thomas S. 1996. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lakatos, Imre. 1970. “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.” In Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, eds. Lakatos, Imre and Musgrave, Alan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Larmore, Charles. 1996. The Morals of Modernity. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lovett, Francis. 2010. A General Theory of Domination and Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Manicas, Peter. 1992. “Nature and Culture.” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 66(3): 5976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Margolis, Eric, and Laurence, Stephen, eds. 1999. Concepts: Core Readings. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Meilleur, Maurice. 2005. “After Methodology: Toward a Profession of Political Science.” In Perestroika! The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science, ed. Monroe, Kristen Renwick. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Merton, Robert K. 1973. The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, ed. Storer, Norman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Mill, John Stuart. 1987. On the Logic of the Moral Sciences. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
Monroe, Kristen Renwick, ed. 2005. Perestroika! The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Mutz, Diana C. 2008. “Is Deliberative Democracy a Falsifiable Theory?Annual Review of Political Science 11: 521–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
NASA. 2003. “Saturn-Bound Spacecraft Tests Einstein's Theory.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration press release. http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/newsreleases/newsrelease20031002/ (accessed May 26, 2009).Google Scholar
Pettit, Philip. 1997. Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Popper, Karl R. 1989. “Science: Conjectures and Refutations.” In Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, 2nd ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Porter, Theodore M. 2003. “Genres and Objects of Social Inquiry, from the Enlightenment to 1890.” In The Modern Social Sciences, eds. Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross. The Cambridge History of Science 7. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Putnam, Hillary. 2002. The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Rehfeld, Andrew. 2003. Review of Political Representation, by F.R. Ankersmit. Ethics 113(4): 866868.Google Scholar
Rehfeld, Andrew. 2005. The Concept of Constituency: Political Representation, Democratic Legitimacy and Institutional Design. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rehfeld, Andrew. 2007. Review of Reconstructing the Commercial Republic: Constitutional Design after Madison, by Stephen Elkin. Perspectives on Politics 5(2): 349350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rehfeld, Andrew. 2008. “Jephthah, The Hebrew Bible, and John Locke's Second Treatise of Government.” Hebraic Political Studies 3(1): 6093.Google Scholar
Ross, Dorothy. 2003. “Changing Contours of the Social Science Disciplines.” In The Modern Social Sciences, eds. Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross. The Cambridge History of Science 7. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Scanlon, T. M. 1982. “Contractualism and Utilitarianism.” In Utilitarianism and Beyond, eds. Sen, Amartya and Williams, Bernard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Schram, Sanford F. 2006. “Return to Politics: Perestroika, Phronesis, and Post-Paradigmatic Political Science.” In Making Political Science Matter: Debating Knowledge, Research, and Method, eds. Schram, Sanford F. and Caterino, Brian. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
Schram, Sanford F. 2005. “A Return to Politics.” In Perestroika! The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science, ed. Monroe, Kristen Renwick. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Searle, John. 1995. The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Sen, Amartya. 1999. Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Shapin, Steven. 1999. “Foreword.” In The Politics of Pure Science, new ed., by Daniel Greenberg. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Shapin, Steven, and Schaffer, Simon. 1989. Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Shapiro, Ian. 2002. “Problems, Methods, and Theories in the Study of Politics, or What's Wrong with Political Science and What to Do About It.” Political Theory 30(4): 596619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shapiro, Ian. 2005. The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Skinner, Quentin, Dasgupta, Partha, Geuss, Raymond, Lane, Melissa, Laslett, Peter, O'Neill, Onora, Runciman, W. G., and Kuper, Andrew. 2002. “Political Philosophy: The View from Cambridge.” The Journal of Political Philosophy 10(1): 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snow, C.P. 1993. The Two Cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Steinberger, Peter J. 2005. “Reforming the Discipline: Some Doubts.” In Perestroika! The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science, ed. Monroe, Kristen Renwick. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Strauss, Leo. 1959. “What is Political Philosophy?” In What is Political Philosophy? Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Taylor, Charles. 1987. “Interpretation and the Sciences of Man.” In Interpretive Social Science: A Second Look, eds. Rabinow, Paul and Sullivan, William M.. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Teachout, Terry. 2008. “Hitler's Accompanists.” Commentary 125(1): 5052.Google Scholar
Thompson, Dennis. 2008. “Deliberative Democratic Theory and Empirical Political Science.” Annual Review of Political Science 11: 497520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Topper, Keith. 2005. The Disorder of Political Inquiry. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Turner, Stephen. 2003. “Cause, Teleology and Method.” In The Modern Social Sciences, eds. Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross. The Cambridge History of Science 7. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Wallerstein, Immanuel, Juma, Calestous, Keller, Evelyn Fox, Kocka, Jürgen, Lecourt, Dominique, Mudimbe, V.Y., Mushakoji, Kinhide, Prigogine, Ilya, Taylor, Peter J., and Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. 1996. Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Weber, Max. 1949. “‘Objectivity’ in Social Science and Social Policy.” In The Methodology of the Social Sciences. Trans. and ed. by Shils, Edward A. and Finch, Henry A.. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
Wendt, Alex. 1999. Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
White, Stephen. ed. 2002. “What is Political Theory?Special issue, Political Theory 30(4).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wolin, Sheldon. 1969. “Political Theory as a Vocation.” American Political Science Review 63(4): 10621082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Rehfeld supplementary material

Foundations of Political Theory Letter

Download Rehfeld supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 67 KB
Supplementary material: PDF

Rehfeld supplementary material

Written by Ben Barber and signed by Sixty Others

Download Rehfeld supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 45 KB
30
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Offensive Political Theory
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Offensive Political Theory
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Offensive Political Theory
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *