A fundamental challenge. Are the affordances of political science being wasted?

A fundamental challenge. Are the affordances of political science being wasted?

Article received: 2023.12.30. Accepted: 2024.01.17

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2024.02.02

For citation:

Ilyin M.V. A fundamental challenge. Are the affordances of political science being wasted? – Polis. Political Studies. 2024. No. 2. P. 8-24. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2024.02.02. EDN: AOJEQK

The article reflects research done in the framework of INION research topic “Current trends in the development of science in the context of social and information-technological changes”. The outcomes of the research are also partially reflected in [Ilyin, 2023] and the paper “The Poverty of the Rich Inheritors. How to Retrieve the Achievements of Political Science?” presented at the conference “Political Projection in the Domain of Social Communications”, Moscow, RSUH, November 2-3, 2023.


The author recalls the reveries of the times of the creation of the journal Polis. He critically assesses
three decades of attempts to nurture the achievements of world political science. He admits that the results of these efforts are far from expectations. The reasons are the haste to act and our miopic vision of the standards of world political science, as well as the awkward backwardness of these standards themselves. The generic trauma of the newly emerging political science goes with the reductive adjusting of evolving practices of political goal- attainment to the straitjacketing models of jurisprudence, philosophy and history. As Ch. Tilly has shown, the corresponding pernicious postulates were questioned only during the glorious twenty years of political science renewal in the 60s and 70s of the last century. These pernicious postulates are related to the reduction of evolving political phenomena to simplistic mechanistic schemes and abstractions. They continue to dominate mainstream political science. As for the alternative possibilities of political science, they require taking into account the spatio-temporal variability of political phenomena and using an expanding and increasingly complex research apparatus. The author gives a number of examples of such sophisticating renewal, including the treatment of the existence of nations as everyday referendum (Renan), of diverse polities as mestorazvitiya (evo-localizings, lit. place-developments) (Savitsky), of political institutions as conceptual variables (Nettl), of crises as alternating phases of dissynchronization and resynchronization (Almond and colleagues), of center-periphery polarization (Rokkan). The article also mentions the efforts of R. Dahl and F. Schmitter to “save” modern democracy from various kinds of reductions by reinterpreting it in terms of polyarchy and accountability. It refers to the geochronopolitics of G. Modelski and further similar ventures of V. Tsimburski. It also cites efforts of A. Melville and his colleagues in correcting the reductive rendering of the global community of states by extending the factual scope multidimensionality of its analysis. Further cases include the fuller and more multidimensional consideration by G. Tsebelis and R. Putnam of alternative policies and aspirations in terms of nested, two- and multidimensional games, and finally, the efforts of W. Patzelt to instigate an evolutionary morphology of politics.  

crisis of political science, big structures, long processes, longue durde, huge encompassing comparisons, space-time, mestorazvitiya, conceptual variables, dissynchronization and resynchronization, center-periphery polarization, polyarchy and accountability, geochronopolitics, nested, two- and multidimensional games, evolutionary morphology of politics.


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Content No. 2, 2024

See also:

Sorokin K.E.,
Russia and Multipolarity: a Time to Embrace, and a Time to Refrain from Embracing. – Polis. Political Studies. 1994. No1


Bikbov A.T.,
Morals in Politics: Coercion of Those Who Rule. – Polis. Political Studies. 2002. No4

REFLECTIONS ON MATTERS IN PRINT. – Polis. Political Studies. 2001. No6

Shcherbinin A.I.,
Totalitarian Indoctrination: at the Outset of the System (Political Festivals and Plays). – Polis. Political Studies. 1998. No5



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