Skip to main content

Too Much Information? Political Science, the University, and the Public Sphere

  • Lisa Anderson (a1)

This article argues that the technological structure of the modern world has reshaped drastically the role of political scientists as purveyors of information. Only a few decades ago, scholars were still central to the development, collection and dissemination of knowledge. But the transformation in the availability of data due to the proliferation of social media and research engines creates a new environment in which scholars can no longer claim to be the erudite carriers of hard-to-get facts. In order to play a constructive role in this quickly changing setting, political scientists need to invent a new identity for themselves as active practitioners engaged in a dynamic dialogue with students and policymakers.

Hide All
Abaza Mona. 2011. “Academic Tourists Sightseeing the Arab Spring.” Available at
Andersen Kurt. 2011. “The Protester.” Time Magazine, December 14. Available at
Anderson Lisa. 2003. Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century. New York: Columbia University Press.
Anderson Lisa. 2004. “Scholarship, Policy, Debate and Conflict: Why We Study the Middle East and Why It Matters.” Middle East Studies Association Presidential Address. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 38(1) Summer 2004.
Anderson Lisa. 2007. “Truth, Authority and Policy in the Twenty-first Century.” Lecture delivered to the International Jubilee Symposium of the Scientific Council for Government Policy, The Hague, Netherlands, November 23.
Anderson Lisa. 2011. “'Too Much Information': International Affairs, Political Science and the Public Sphere.” Presented at The Public Mission of the Social Sciences and Humanities: Transformation and Renewal Initiative on Academia & the Public Sphere, Berlin, September 16–17. Available at
Arum Richard, and Roksa Josipa. 2011. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Babcock Philip, and Marks Mindy. 2011. “The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data.” Review of Economics and Statistics 93(2): 468–78.
Belal A., and Springuel I.. 2006. “Research in Egyptian Universities: The Role of Research in Higher Education.” Presented at UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge, South Valley University, Egypt, November 29–December 1. Available at
Cole Jonathan. 2010. The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected. New York: Public Affairs.
Dailing Paul. 2009. “How to Become a “Death of Newspapers” Blogger.” Huffington Post, March 25. Available at
Daily Show with Jon Stewart. 2011. Interview with Gigi Ibrahim. Available at
Fischer Karin. 2011. “At Forum on the Future, Leaders Dissect What Ails Higher Education Today.” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12. Available at
Gause F. Gregory III. 2011. “Why Middle East Studies Missed the Arab Spring: The Myth of Authoritarian Stability.” Foreign Affairs, July/August: 8190.
Gawande Atul. 2011. “Personal Best: Top Athletes and Singers Have Coaches. Should you?” The New Yorker, October 3. Available at
Gerson Michael. 2009. “The Strange, Sad Death of Journalism.” Washington Post, November 27. Available at
Ginsberg Benjamin. 2011. The Fall of the Faculty. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hacker Jacob S., and Hathaway Oona A.. 2011. “Our Unbalanced Democracy.” New York Times, July 31. Available at
Hanford Emily. 2012. “Physicists Seek to Lose the Lecture as Teaching Tool.” All Things Considered, National Public Radio, January 1. Available at
Howden Daniel, and Doyle Leonard. 2007. “Making a Killing: How Private Armies Became a $120bn Global Industry.” The Independent, September 21. Available at
Jones Jeffrey M. 2011. “Support for Third U.S. Party Dips, but Is Still Majority View: Fifty-two Percent Believe a Third Political Party Is Needed.” Gallup News, May 9. Available at
Lederman Doug. 2009. “What Does a Degree Cost?” Inside Higher Ed, May 19. Available at
Lindsey Ursula. 2011. “Protests Elicit Pledges of Openness at the American U. in Cairo.” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 20.
Mazawi Andre Elias. 2001. “The Arab Spring: The Higher Education Revolution That Is Yet to Happen.” International Higher Education 65: 1213.
McGrath Ben. 2010. “The Movement: The Rise of Tea Party Activism.” The New Yorker, Feb 1. Available at
Menand Louis. 2010. The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. New York: WW Norton.
Nye Joseph S. Jr. 2011. “Zakaria's World: Are America's Best Days Really Behind Us?” Foreign Policy, March 8. Available at
Obama Barack. 2011. “Obama Delivers Remarks on Egypt.” February 11. Available at
Rhoten Diana, and Calhoun Craig, eds. 2011. Knowledge Matters: The Public Mission of the Research University. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rubio Fernando Dominguez, and Baert Patrick, eds. 2012. “Introduction.” The Politics of Knowledge. New York: Routledge.
Slackman Michael. 2010. “A Campus Where Unlearning Is First.” New York Times, May 5.
Smith Rogers. 2011. “Political Science and the Public Sphere in the 21st Century.”Presented at The Public Mission of the Social Sciences and Humanities: Transformation and Renewal Initiative on Academia & the Public Sphere, Berlin, September 16–17. Available at
Sorkin Andrew Ross. 2009. Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves. New York: Viking.
Surowieski James. 2011. “Debt by Degrees.” The New Yorker, November 21.
Survival of the Fattest: What, If Anything, Can Be Done about Banks That Are Too Big to Fail?2011. The Economist, May 12. Available at
Thomas Douglas, and Brown John Seeley. 2011. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace.
Thomas Keith. 2011. “Universities Under Attack.” London Review of Books, December 15.
Walt Stephen. 2011. “International Affairs and the Public Sphere.” Presented at The Public Mission of the Social Sciences and Humanities: Transformation and Renewal Initiative on Academia & the Public Sphere, Berlin, September 16–17. Available at
Wilson Robin. 2011. “Colleges Spend Far Less on Educating Students Than They Claim, Report Says.” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7. Available at
Wise Lindsey. 2006. “Why Egypt Is Cracking Down on Bloggers.” Time Magazine, June 1. Available at,8599,1199896,00.html.
Zakaria Fareed. 2011. Are America's Best Days Behind Us? Time Magazine, March 3. Available at,9171,2056723,00.html#ixzz1tocegotp.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 26 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 224 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.