A New Handbook of Political Science
Category: Political Science
The International Political Science Association is proud to have contributed to the making of the New Handbook of Political Science. Participants in the IPSA XVI World Congress in Berlin in 1994 had an opportunity to hear initial presentations of many of the chapters in a series of sessions, organized by the Editors, on 'The State of the Discipline'. This is an appropriate time at which to take stock of political science. The discipline faces new challenges in understanding and assessing recent dramatic, sometimes tragic, world events and sweeping political changes. The New Handbook covers familiar, staple topics in political science, such as political institutions, political behavior, public policy and political theory, but the political context, in North as well as South, East as well as West, is no longer so familiar. New questions are being asked about such fundamentals as the nation state and sovereignty, and there is growing interest in the politics of religion, ethnicity and varieties of pluralism. Intellectual developments, too, during the last twenty years have brought a wide range of new theoretical frameworks and methodologies into political science. Some scholars, for example, now use highly technical and sophisticated mathematical models, others have moved under the philosophical umbrella called post-modernism, many are proponents of the 'new institutionalism', and feminism is a major presence. Political science is also changing in other ways. As part of the current wave of democratization, the discipline is being established or strengthened in many countries, and now exists more widely than ever before. The numbers of women and younger scholars from around the world participating in the IPSA World Congress, and the fact that the Congress was addressed by the Association's first woman President, reflected the democratization that has been taking place within political science itself. The New Handbook provides an unusually comprehensive and systematic discussion of all the major areas of the discipline. In this era of specialization, practitioners and their students will turn to contributions beyond their own particular expertise to find out about developments elsewhere in political science. But interested non-specialists and citizens will find this a very accessible, and extremely well organized, volume from which to learn about the state of the art in contemporary political science, and about its history and relation to other social sciences. The contributors, all leading authorities in their fields, reflect the growing strength of political science today outside the USA, where the first professional association was formed. They include both elder statesmen and a new generation of men and women scholars, writing from a variety of perspectives. The New Handbook of Political Science offers a sure, reliable and expert guide through the broad expanses and the thickets of the discipline and its subdivisions. There could be no better volume to take political science into the new century. Carole Pateman President IPSA 1991-1994 Preface The New Handbook, by its very title, pays explicit homage to the truly Herculean efforts of our predecessors, Fred Greenstein and Nelson Polsby, in compiling the original Handbook of Political Science (1975). Though that eight-volume work is now two decades old, it remains a landmark in the discipline and an essential reference. We have set our task as the examination of what has happened in the discipline in the twenty years since publication of Greenstein-Polsby original. Inevitably, some contributors have needed to go slightly beyond those bounds to tell a coherent story (the story of contemporary political theory, for example, clearly starts with the publication of Rawls's Theory of Justice, four years before the Greenstein-Polsby Handbook). Basically, however, the first three contributors to each section have been held to that remit, with the fourth ("Old and New") being invited explicitly to reflect upon how these newer developments articulate with older traditions within each subdiscipline. The New Handbook is conspicuously more international than the old, with just under half of our 42 contributors having non-North American affiliations. That is due in some small part to its origins in a meeting of the International Political Science Association (see our Acknowledgments, immediately following). But it is due in much larger part to genuine internationalization of the discipline over the past two decades. American political science undoubtedly remains primus inter pares—but it now has many equals, most of whom actually see themselves as collaborators in some shared enterprise. These and various other new voices make political science a richer discourse today than twenty years ago, albeit a discourse which is clearly continuous with that earlier one. The New Handbook is also conspicuously organized around subdisciplines in a way that the old was not. Some such subdisciplinary affiliations are, and virtually always have been, the principal points of allegiance of most members of our discipline. The particular subdisciplines around which we have organized the New Handbook represent what seem to us to constitute the dominant configuration of the discipline at present. Subdisciplines are far from being hermetically sealed, however. Work across and between subdisciplinary divides is increasingly common in its frequency and compelling in its quality. The original Handbook of Political Science was loosely inspired by the model of Lindzey and Aronson's (1954/1985) Handbook of Social Psychology (Greenstein and Polsby 1975: vol. i, p. vi). While social psychology remains central to much political science, it is a mark of the broadening scope of the contemporary discipline that the New Handbook was loosely inspired, in like fashion, by the New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics (Eatwell et al. 1987). Again, our modest single volume cannot compare with the four-volume sweep of that latter work, nor does it face quite the same challenge of catching up on a century's worth of developments since publication of the original. But like the New Palgrave, the New Handbook of Political Science strives to encourage cutting-edge practitioners to stand back from the fray and reflect upon where, collectively, we have been and where, collectively, we are going in their corner of the discipline. And like the New Palgrave, the New Handbook of Political Science takes that disciplinary remit broadly to embrace cognate work in economics and sociology, psychology and statistics, anthropology and area studies. In addition to these masterly surveys of cognate disciplines, we should also acknowledge our debt—and our profession's—to various other interim assessments of the state of political science itself. Although the surveys of Political Science: The State of the Discipline (Finifter 1983; 1993) are not nearly as comprehensive in their aspirations as the handbook, old or new, several of their chapters have become classics that now stand alongside corresponding chapters in the original handbook as authoritative statements upon which any subsequent work must build. Another four-volume collection, Political Science: Looking to the Future (Crotty 1991), also contains many truly excellent chapters which repay careful study. Subfields of political science have also been well-served, a particular landmark being Public Administration: The State of the Discipline (Lynn and Wildavsky 1990)—a joint venture between the American Society for Public Administration and APSA. Looking beyond the Anglophone orbit, there are also ambitious and excellent handbooks of political science published in French (Leca and Grawitz 1985), German (von Beyme 1986) and Italian (Graziano 1987). The New Handbook aims not to supplant any of those previous efforts but, rather, to extend and supplement them. Greenstein and Polsby felt compelled to remark upon the inevitable incompleteness of their original eight-volume handbook. So too must we emphasize, all the more strongly, the inevitable incompleteness of our one-volume successor. Authors of the lead chapter in each section have been asked to provide an overview of recent developments, as best they are able—but within the tightly limited number of pages they have been allowed, inevitably there is much that they have had to leave out. We have attempted to supplement each of those overview chapters with other shorter ones from particular perspectives—but with only two per subdiscipline, there are again many perspectives that are inevitably left out. While we cannot hope to have provided a comprehensive coverage of all recent developments of consequence, we nonetheless hope to have touched upon most of the main currents in the disciplines. It is a lively and thriving enterprise, of which we are proud to be part. References Crotty, W., ed. 1991. Political Science: Looking to the Future. 4 vols. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press. Eatwell, J.; Milgate, M.; and Newman, P., eds. 1987. The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics. 4 vols. New York: Stockton Press. Finifter, A. W., ed. 1983. Political Science: The State of the Discipline. Washington, D.C.: American Political Science Association. —— ed. 1993. Political Science: The State of the Discipline II. Washington, D.C.: American Political Science Association. Graziano, L., ed. 1987. La Scienca Politica Italiana. Milano: Felterinellei. Greenstein, F. I., and Polsby, N. W., eds. 1975. Handbook of Political Science. 8 vols. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. Leca, J., and Grawitz, M., eds. 1985. Traité de Science Politique. 4 vols. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Lindzey, G., and Aronson, E. 1985. Handbook of Social Psychology. 2 vols. 3rd edn. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley; originally published 1954. Lynn, N. B., and Wildavsky, A., eds. 1990. Public Administration: The State of the Discipline. Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, for the American Political Science Association and the American Society for Public Administration. von Beyme, K., ed. 1986. Politikwissenschaft in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. PVS Sonderheft 17. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.