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American Political Development as a Problem-Driven Enterprise

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2022

Daniel J. Galvin*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Chloe N. Thurston*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
*
Corresponding author: Daniel J. Galvin, Email: galvin@northwestern.edu and Chloe N. Thurston, Email: thurston@northwestern.edu
Corresponding author: Daniel J. Galvin, Email: galvin@northwestern.edu and Chloe N. Thurston, Email: thurston@northwestern.edu

Abstract

We argue that American political development's (APD's) relentless preoccupation with the substantive problems that shape and animate American politics and how they emerge and develop over time has been a key source of the subfield's durability. We elaborate on three main payoffs to conceptualizing APD as a problem-driven enterprise: (1) it highlights APD's main comparative advantage within the American politics subfield, noting the tremendous agility APD's substantive breadth lends the enterprise; (2) it resolves the methodological debate, granting simply that the question chooses the method rather than the other way around; and (3) it reorients the critique: simply because a subfield considers itself to be problem-oriented does not mean that it is identifying the right problems to study.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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References

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