Politics in Motion: A Personal History of Political Science

Israel Waismel-Manor, Theodore J. Lowi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The American Political Science Review (APSR) centennial provided us an occasion for the examination of the political science profession as reflected from its pages. Employing a citation analysis of 220 major political scientists published in the APSR and probing deeper into the citation record of some of its prominent scholars, this paper charts the dynamics of political science history. Since its birth over a hundred years ago, the profession has been in a state of constant flux, where new movements surge as previous ones decline once their integration into the fund of professional knowledge was completed. The paper argues that the surge and decline pattern is not a "tragedy of political science," but a sign of a healthy and vigorous profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-78
Number of pages20
JournalNew Political Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The slightly younger Dahl presents almost an identical profile, a career very much like Key’s and Truman’s (Figure 4). The three of them served as members of the original Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Committee on Political Behavior, and supporting the campaign led by the long-serving APSA Executive Director Evron Kirkpatrick to use behavioral science as the battering ram to open the door for a political science entry into the realm of modern science, as defined by the National Science Foundation. But all three of them jumped off the behavioral bandwagon very soon after the movement itself was in full swing. Dahl was first to jump, by putting his energy in the 1950s into a more scientific and theoretic validation of pluralism. On the empirical level, for his systematic study of “community power structures” he did for pluralism at the local level what Truman had accomplished at the national level. That came with Who Governs?16 but he had already given pluralism a much higher status in the pantheon of political theory in, A Preface to Democratic Theory.17 We will return to Dahl when

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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