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The Art of Political Science: Spatial Diagrams as Iconic and Revelatory

  • Henry E. Brady (a1)

Spatial diagrams of politics could and should be iconic for political science in much the same way as supply-and-demand curves are in economics. Many fundamental problems of political science can be connected with them, and many different concepts—such as ideological constraint, cross-pressures, framing, agenda-setting, political competition, voting systems, and party systems, to name just a few—can be illuminated through spatial diagrams. Spatial diagrams raise questions and provide insights. They suggest political maneuvers, possible realignments, and political problems. They provide us with revealing images that aid memory and facilitate analysis. They are a powerful way to think about politics, and we could not do better than to feature them in our textbooks, to use them in our research, and to exhibit them as our brand—as our distinctive way of thinking about how the world works

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