Description Of Polictical Science Not Yet Complete

1377 words - 6 pages

Over the year’s political science has been defined in several ways; the study of power, the study of the monopoly of the legitimate use of force, the study of the good life, and more (p1). However, Western political science distinguishes itself in a way because it has not yet arrived at a consensus on how its subject matter should be described (p1).
Western and especially American political Science has passed through four different stages during the twentieth century, and one hopes that each stage has been improved upon by each succeeding stage. The various stages that will be discussed are the formal, the traditional, the behavioral, and the post-behavioral” (p1).
In the late eighteen hundreds, Walter Bagehot in the UK, soon followed by Woodrow Wilson in the United States, as well as others, discovered all kinds of informal behavior and organizations with potential power over decisions around the formal structure of political offices and institutions. This introduced a new stage in the development of political science in the 1920s to the 1940s which has come to be called traditional political science (p2).
Methodology in the traditional period paid less attention to theories about how political processes operate and paid more attention to the description and collection of information about political processes. However, a hidden theory really did guide research. Most scholars of that time unconsciously viewed the political process as a giant mechanism for decision making (p2).
During the traditional period everyone was equipped to collect and analyze information about politics. There were no formal or specific tests for checking the reliability of information or findings and interpretations based on the information. This resulted in research where it was difficult to tell if the researcher was describing things as they are or was simply inserting their own preferences (p3).
The behavioral stage began after World War Two and is the central transformation in Western political science in the twentieth century. Behavioralism had six major characteristics that distinguished it from earlier stages in political science. Its first characteristic is that there are discoverable uniformities in the behavior of human beings. The second is that, through empirical testing, these uniformities can be confirmed. Third, there was a desire for more thorough and accurate methods for acquiring data and for analyzing it. Fourth, the behavioral movement had a greater theoretical sophistication than it had in the past. In the past theories had been philosophical in character; whereas the Behavioral theory seeks to explain, understand, and if possible predict the political behavior of people as well as the way political institutions operate through empirical methods. Fifth, a great deal of behavioralists felt it was unnecessary to include the values of either the research worker or of society in the process of...

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