Political Analysis

Political Analysis

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  • ISBN-13: 9780813368429
  • ISBN: 0813368421
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Publisher: Westview Press


King, Gary, Beck, Nathaniel


The first volume of the quarterly Political Analysis marks the 25th anniversary of Political Analysis and its predecessor, Political Methodology. From the beginning of the discipline, methodology has been an important part of Political Science; however, the relationship of methodology and political science has never been an easy one.As David Gow (Quantification and Statistics in the Early Years of American Political Science, 1880-1922, Political Methodology, Volume,11, page 12. 1985) noted, "the relationship between statistics and political science commenced as a close one, in which statistics contributed to political science by providing economy of description, and statisticians contributed to government by providing the data for policy-making and administration. It was in this role that statistics was incorporated in the design that John Burgess laid down at Columbia College [in 1880]."But over the next century the relationship between political science and statistics did not live up to this initial vision. The founding of the journal Political Methodology, the forerunner of Political Analysis, was an important step in allowing political science to meet Burgess' vision, albeit a century later. As Chris Achen noted in his editorial statement for the final issue of Political Methodology (Volume 11, 1985), "when [Political Methodology] began in the mid-1970s, methodology was more often an avocation than a vocation. No political science journal welcomed methodological articles, and many journals rejected them out of hand. Certainly no Society for Political Methodology existed to give shape and organization to the needs of political methodologists. In the face of these difficulties, John Sullivan and George Marcus created Political Methodology. ... By the end of their tenure as editors, the field had come of age, and the rapid development of the last few years were possible."When Achen wrote his editorial, the first Summer Meeting of the Society for Political Methodology, at the University of Michigan, had already occurred, and the second, at Berkeley, was about to occur. At those meetings, twelve methodologists sat around a seminar table. Over 100 methodologists attended the 1998 meeting. When Political Methodology began, most departments had one "service" course, usually taught by the most technically trained Americanist; major departments now employ at least one person trained as a methodologist, offering a variety of advanced courses. A generation ago, an advanced course at the ICPSR Summer Program taught multiple regression. In 1998 there were forty students in a political science course on maximum likelihood, and twenty in the advanced maximum likelihood course. A decade ago young methodologists obtained tenure on the basis of their publications and contributions to fields other than political methodology; today young methodologists can make a career by contributing and publishing in their own field. A few years after the first summer meeting, Political Methodology was recognized by the American Political Science Association as an organized subfield. Today it is the fourth largest organized subfield in the Association, with over 600 dues paying members.Much of the recent success of methodology as a field is due to the journal Political Analysis, sponsored by the Society for Political Methodology and the Organized Subfield of the American Political Science Association. When Political Analysis was founded, the only journal publishing methodological articles was the American Journal of Political Science, in its Workshop series. Editors of other leading journals all too often rejected submissions because, while excellent, they were deemed "too specialized" or"too methodological." Only the Workshop allowed methodologists to escape this foolishness. And while that series was (and is) excellent, it could not provide a sufficient outlet for political methodologists to build careers as methodologists.Political Analysis was founKing, Gary is the author of 'Political Analysis', published 1999 under ISBN 9780813368429 and ISBN 0813368421.

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