Current Criticism of APSA Is Nothing New
Over the several decades of my professional career, complaints about APSR and petitions to change the structure of APSA have been perennial features of life among political scientists. To a remarkable extent the agenda of concerns has remained quite constant, focusing on issues of allegedly excessive emphasis on technique and method, the representativeness of the Review, and the APSA's governing structures. Over the years the Association has tired to address these concerns, sometimes with a degree of success, but rarely enough to satisfy or silence the critics. In part, the problem lies in the supposed incompatibility of the ostensible polarities; teaching versus research, technique versus substance, real world politics versus theoretically driven research. Of course, these are not either/or choices but questions of degree, and the appropriate balance may vary considerably across both time and the spectra of subject matter and professional career paths. Moreover, though we may give it more lip service than true commitment, the principle of interdependence really does operate on each of these dimensions of our disputes. As that splendid scholar and wise man, V.O. Key, Jr., said in his presidential address 40-odd years ago, “Method without substance may be sterile, but substance without method is only fortuitously substantial” (1958, 967).