Political Science: Architectonic Discipline or Academic <i>Carrefour</i>?

Johan P. Olsen

in Governing through Institution Building

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199593934
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594632 | DOI:
Political Science: Architectonic Discipline or Academic Carrefour?

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Chapter 6 elaborates how studies of unsettled polities have implications for the identity and boundaries of political science. The discipline has been portrayed as a master discipline and also a carrefour, a meeting place for a variety of disciplines. Arguably, it cannot rely on other disciplines, organization theory included, to provide theoretical frameworks for making sense of political organization. It has to develop its own theoretical foundations, based on key properties of politics, governing, and public administration as specific organized activities. The challenge for institutionalists is to specify the areas of applicability for an institutional approach. Key questions are: under what conditions is it likely that ‘institution’ will work fruitfully as the unit of analysis and have significant explanatory power compared to competing units of analysis? What are important political institutions and under what circumstances is governing through institution building and polity formation likely to be an important democratic process?

Keywords: institutional approach; unsettled polities; architectonic discipline; carrefour; political science; identity; borders; unit of analysis

Chapter.  2513 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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