( Twenty-minute read)
Call it what you want:
Political Science, Political theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Methodology. It all leaves you scratching your head and wondering what is Political Science exactly?
Political Science is a social science that focuses on government institutions and political behaviour, but how exactly did it come about?
When one watches gatherings such as the G7/8 of world leader one would have to ask where are we going.
Every major media outlet has a political scientist on call to commentate about likely voter reactions to the candidates’ stances on hot-button issues.
The behavioural models that political scientists create can practically forecast the outcome of an election before a single vote has been cast.
However in the 21st, it means “democracy”, is the crowd-sourcing of politics run by algorithms.
So political science is governed by five myths:
That it is possible to study politicsn> That it is scientific > That it is possible to study politics separated off from economics, sociology, psychology and history > That the state in our democratic capitalist society is politically neutral, that is available as a set of institutions and mechanisms to whatever group wins the election > That political science, as a discipline, advances the cause of democracy.
For me it is “superficial and trivial”, and that concept formation and development is “little more than hair-splitting and jargon”
These days we are told if something can’t be measured, then that’s not it, and if an event didn’t happen twice, then it didn’t happen.
One way or the other all the more interesting questions falling outside the bounds of scientific investigation, the internet age is gradually forcing itself upon our leaders but it is unlikely to make them reconnect with voters “less because they see the light, and more because they are beginning to feel the heat”.
For all the talk about politics, political science has never decided what exactly it should study.
The result is that many trivial matters receive an inordinate amount of attention and many important ones go untreated like climate change.
In short, political science seems to have turned around the order in which any person not trained in the discipline would try to answer the questions.
We will soon learn that political science is not about the real world but only about those features of the world that can be studied by methods deemed to be scientific.
“What should I study?” and “How should I study it?”.
What has political science found out about the political sphere that we didn’t know before, or that isn’t abysmally trivial?
It makes even the worst real-world inequalities acceptable (not worth bothering about) by rendering them irrelevant to the task at hand. Guess to whose benefit?
Few things are more important to the legitimation of capitalist rule than the assurance given by political science that the dictatorship of the capitalist class in which we live is really a democratic state of the whole people.
If political science really wishes to advance the cause of democracy (as one of the myths of our discipline already has it doing), we should help people understand that the main barrier to democracy today is capitalism.
Given the importance of the capitalist context for everything that goes on inside it, this is also a first step toward making our research truly scientific, that is capable of uncovering how the state and politics really work, and how—with the democratization of undemocratic capitalist relations of production, distribution and exchange—they might yet come to work for everyone.
Now here is a non-trivial agenda worthy of political science that aspires to advance the cause of democracy through the use of scientific
The rational choice carries the miniaturization of political science one step further by dismissing what people actually do politically and concentrating on their decisions to do it,
We see news reports, headlines in the papers and if one checks the details you find that the headlines are misleading or half-truths.
I accept that all news, in whatever medium, is subject to some editorial bias but the days of reporting the facts dispassionately are gone due to social media.
Take Brexit for example:
Parties that had strong collective identities are now falling asunder all being lead by popularism into political cul-de-sacs. The loyalty and cohesion of political parties now depend much more on short term smartphone mass memberships.
The results are tragi-comedy modernisation and public mistrusted.
This is what motivated the In or Out referendum not an understanding of the long term consequences.
Annexing subjects like the European Union affects all lives in countless ways –
I don’t think that any political science predicted a Party without power or fame the Brexit Party. It now represents a piece of evidence about how the ground is shifting.
Thus to ask today, in the middle of Mitteleuropa, where political science has been heading is also to ask whether the new beginnings of the discipline in Eastern Europe should or should not follow the path entered by our “big brother,”
The digital revolution will do to grand planners in the West what the collapse of Communism did to socialist planners in the old Soviet bloc”.
THE PROBLEM IS:
Are we somehow going to see sense and see through the lies?
How have rampant inequalities shaped electoral campaigns and promises?
We don’t need political science to say that global climate change is real.
If you don’t believe it you’re anti-facts.
THE ONLY SOLUTION IS, to open up politics with the right of “recall” against MPs with whom constituents were dissatisfied.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.