Politics as a Science : A Prolegomenon book cover
1st Edition

Politics as a Science
A Prolegomenon

ISBN 9780367464691
Published July 22, 2020 by Routledge
158 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In Politics as a Science, two of the world's leading authorities on Comparative Politics, Philippe C. Schmitter and Marc Blecher, provide a lively introduction to the concepts and framework to study and analyze politics.

Written with dexterity, concision and clarity, this short text makes no claim to being scientific. It contains no disprovable hypotheses, no original collection of evidence and no search for patterns of association. Instead, Schmitter and Blecher keep the text broadly conceptual and theoretical to convey their vision of the sprawling subject of politics. They map the process in which researchers try to specify the goal of the trip, some of the landmarks likely to be encountered en route and the boundaries that will circumscribe the effort. Examples, implications and elaborations are included in footnotes throughout the book.

Politics as a Science is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in, or studying, comparative politics.

“The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/doi/view/10.4324/9781003032144, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.”

Table of Contents

1. The Subject Matter

2. The Foundations

3. The Consequences

4. The Discipline

5. The Design of Research

6. The Purpose

7. The Promise


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Philippe C. Schmitter is Emeritus Professor of the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute. Since 1967 he has been successively assistant professor, associate professor and professor of political science at the University of Chicago, then at the European University Institute (1982–1986 and 1997–2005) and at Stanford (1986–1996). He has published widely on comparative politics, European and Latin America regional integration, transitions from authoritarian rule and democratization processes, and the intermediation of class, sectoral and professional interests. Schmitter won the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science in 2009, the ECPR Lifetime Achievement Award by the European Consortium for Political Research in 2007, the EUSA Award for Lifetime Achievement in European Studies by the European Union Studies Association in 2009 and the Mattei Dogan Prize awarded by the International Political Science Association (IPSA) to a scholar of high international reputation in recognition of their contribution to political science in 2009.

Marc Blecher is James Monroe Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies at Oberlin College. He has also served as a Senior Research Fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies, Visiting Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Sussex (UK). His specialty is Chinese politics, on which he has published five books and dozens of articles on local politics, popular participation and political economy. His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society, the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Blecher teaches about Chinese and Asian politics and political economy, Marxian theory, the politics of class, and politics and theatre. His ongoing research focuses on workers' politics in contemporary China.


"Insight and parsimony permeate this analytic road map. Schmitter and Blecher provide readers with a bold and ambitious tour d’horizon showing essential linkages among dozens of concepts integral to comparative politics and international relations. Readers will return to it regularly for insights and examples."

T.J. Pempel, Jack M. Forcey Professor, Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

"Schmitter and Blecher provide a great overview, bringing politics back into political science, with a high-level overview of the main building blocks for a science of politics that is sensitive to the uncertain and dynamic nature of the contemporary world while remaining attentive to the enduring features of what makes politics political."

Todd Landman, Professor of Political Science, University of Nottingham

"This book offers a compelling reflection on the essence of the study of politics, or politology, and on its importance. It puts power and its exercise squarely in the center and, in jargon-free language, develops a comprehensive view of their foundations and consequences."

Evelyne Huber, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University North Carolina