Book

Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

Edited by Daniel Béland and Robert Henry Cox

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736430
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866106 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736430.001.0001
Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Writing about ideas, John Maynard Keynes noted that they are “more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” One would expect, therefore, that political science—a discipline that focuses specifically on the nature of power—would have a healthy respect for the role of ideas. However, for a variety of reasons—not least of which is the influence of rational choice theory, which presumes that individuals are self-maximizing rational actors—this is not the case, and the literature on the topic is fairly thin. As this book shows, ideas are in fact powerful shapers of political and social life. The book provides a general overview of the theoretical, empirical, and methodological issues raised by social science research on ideas and politics. Throughout, it hones in on three central questions. What is the theoretical basis for studying ideas in politics? What are the best methods? What sort of empirical puzzles can be solved by examining ideas and related phenomena such as discourse, policy paradigms, and framing processes?

Keywords: John Maynard Keynes; rational choice theory; ideas; politics; discourse; policy; paradigms; framing processes

Book.  288 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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The Varied Roles of Ideas in Politics in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Ideas and the Construction of Interests in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Ideas, Uncertainty, and Evolution in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Ideology, History, and Politics in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Ideas, Position, and Supranationality in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Ideas, Policy Change, and the Welfare State in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Knowledge Regimes and Comparative Political Economy* in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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Ideas, Expertise, and Think Tanks in Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

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