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The Ongoing Revolution in American Political Science

The Ongoing Revolution in American Political Science

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Published by Joshua R. Berkenpas
In my 2009 Master's thesis, I argue that the behavioral revolution and its new concept of theory was largely a response to the widespread discourse about the "death" of political theory or philosophy in the 1950s and 1960s.
In my 2009 Master's thesis, I argue that the behavioral revolution and its new concept of theory was largely a response to the widespread discourse about the "death" of political theory or philosophy in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Published by: Joshua R. Berkenpas on Jul 09, 2013
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08/28/2013

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THE ONGOING REVOLUTION IN AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE byJoshua R. BerkenpasA ThesisSubmitted to theFaculty of The Graduate Collegein partial fulfillment of therequirements for theDegree of Master of ArtsDepartment of Political ScienceAdvisor: Emily Hauptmann, Ph.D.Western Michigan UniversityKalamazoo, MichiganDecember 2009
 
 THE ONGOING REVOLUTION IN AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCEJoshua R. Berkenpas, M.A.Western Michigan University, 2009This thesis explores a mid-twentieth century European-American literarydiscourse on the death and prospects for revival of political theory or political philosophy in the 1950s and early 1960s. This thesis is relevant for contemporaryAmerican readers because we can still observe and feel the effects of the behavioralrevolution. I look at the literature on the death of political theory and discover thatthere are two distinct strands of interpretation. In the US, the “behavioral revolt”(Dahl 1961), was embraced and celebrated as a key to the advance of the scientificstudy of politics. At the same time, disparate European political theorists began aconversation that mourned the loss of the formerly open and eclectic ways and  practices of Western political theory. I argue for a new understanding of the behavioral revolution in the US that takes into account the European perspective onthe death of political theory. I also discuss how the related themes of positivism and the “scientific study of politics” (Storing 1962), became touchstones for a great dealof writing and discussion in the 1950s and 1960s. This new reading on the death of  political theory shows, finally, that political theory can never die.
 
Copyright byJoshua R. Berkenpas2009

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