- The Dilemmas of Contemporary Social Science
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- by Hall, Peter A.
- For two hundred years, social science has provided the lens through which people view society and the visions animating most demands for political reform – at least since Adam Smith’s efforts to unleash the ‘invisible hand’ of the market without destroying the moral sentiments of society.1 However, the perspectives of social science shift, as each new generation questions its predecessors, with import for politics as well as the academy. From time to time, therefore, we should reflect on them. In this essay I do so from the perspective of political science, mainly about American scholarship and with no pretense to comprehensiveness, but with a focus on the disciplinary intersections where so many have found Archimedean points. Intellectual developments in any one field are often ‘progressive’ in the scientific sense of that term.2 But something can be lost as well as gained in the course of them, and there is reason for concern about the fate of social science over the past twenty-five years. What has been lost becomes clear only if we revisit the path taken.
- Publication Type: WCFIA Working Paper
- Published Date: September 2007
- Field of Interest: Global Issues
- Hall, Peter A. "The Dilemmas of Contemporary Social Science." boundary 34, no.3(2007):121-141.