The Development of Philanthropic Interest in the Scientific Study of Political Behavior

by Emily Hauptmann

Jan 1, 2011
Most political scientists in the U.S. agree that the behavioral revolution of the 1950s and 1960s brought about a sea change in the discipline (Adcock 2007). In the last few decades, however, some have argued that it may not have been so great or sudden a change after all (Drzyek 2006, Farr 1995, and Gunnell 1993). Others, including myself, have tried to pinpoint how political science changed after WW II and when it did so (Adcock 2007 and Hauptmann 2012). Still, whatever one's view of these matters, "behavioralism" (as political scientists came to call the orientation associated with the revolution), remains firmly embedded in the academic study of politics in the U.S. The study of informal institutions and political processes, a loosely positivistic idea of a "value-free" science and the emphasis on the collection and statistical analysis of quantitative data, behavioral commitments all, are part of the deep structure of political science today.
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