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To what extent would you agree that it is possible to make scientific statements a bout social/political relationships? Essay Example

  • Category:
    Performing Arts
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    2
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    876

POLITICAL SCIENCE 4

Essay plan: Social/Political relationships

Essay Title: To what extent is it possible to make scientific statements about social or political relationships?

Introduction

It has been argued that political science revolves around the problem of political power distribution, consolidation and attainment that exist in hypothetical or actually existing state. While both the traditional and modern approaches emphasize on increased use of scientific methods to confirm social or political relationships, a number of studies have made careful observations and classification to draw broad conclusions. This study aims to investigate the extent at which scientific statements fundamentally mirror natural science to make social or political relationships desirable or even plausible.

In developing and understanding the arguments of interaction of individuals in a political sphere, given the various social-level mechanisms in human social relations, the study attempts to unravel the changing concept of politics over time.

This essay, in making such arguments, fundamental questions will be raised that concern citizens and affect the political discourse more generally. In favor a scientific inquiry into the mechanics of functioning of the political world, this study borrows the trappings of natural science that tests hypotheses and establishes generalizable theories of causation. Basically, this study will look into the following areas; political and moral priorities, rational analysis in an ideological framework, enlightenment philosophical tradition and the ‘assumptions’ in hard sciences.

Political and moral priorities: Political concerns and moral values heavily borrow from natural sciences as they attempt to test hypothesis and generalization of theories of causation. This activity establishes knowledge for its own sake that policymakers will deem fit to make political and moral judgments.

Counter-argument: Assumptions guiding political and moral values reflect on assumptions that can be made unconsciously, semi-consciously or consciously. Research that conforms to the priorities of power cannot be construed as striving to gain ‘political relevance’.

But, these studies are yet to convince readers in the political discourse that the scientific statements related to politics can be value-neutral and apolitical.

Rational analysis of ideological framework: Political research employs dynamic rational tool to build knowledge through impervious, inflexible and deterministic approach to arguments and new information. Certainly, opinions will have equal value and are objective. Scientific studies in politics differentiate ideology from dogma.

Counter argument: Several studies have taken personal ideologies for granted, leaving them unexamined and often causing lapses in dogma. It may not be the productive way to proceed by delegitimizing work on the basis of being ‘ideological’ or ‘political’.

But, the task of accounting for values and politics merely by excusing research that conforms to the conventional wisdom is not permissible. In-depth study distinguishes relevance of political research in a scientific discourse.

Enlightenment philosophical tradition: Intellectuals and many mainstream scholars have critiqued power from a moral standpoint. Thomas Paine advocated for democratic republicanism while Mary Wollstonecraft challenged patriarchical societies. Research in scientific terms fosters public policy and public interest with minimal obsessions of influential economic elites as control variable in the political discourse.

Counter-argument: The class conscious and explicitly moral critique of the political economy is biased towards certain fields on contemporary politics. For example, terrorism as a recent phenomenon tends to focus a lot on non-state actors and ignores the problem of state terrorism. The global south is often chastised as a threat or a problem to the global north without looking into the appalling effects of sanctions regime.

But, the enlightenment tradition has not been abandoned just as several authors have shown commitment to investigate state terrorism in the field of political science and international relations. This shows that the activist scholarship and pursuit of value-driven research is not on the margins but belongs to the mainstream.

The ‘assumptions’ in hard sciences: Recent scholars have come to the hard reality of discussing issues that are too polemic or too political to the extent that they are insufficiently inconsistent with mainstream assumptions and priorities. The inevitability of values and politics affect interests in scholarly integrity and research. This open acknowledgement of political and moral values under a continuum of assumptions shapes the intellectual rigor in scientific research founded on explicit accounting.

Counter-argument: Additional assumptions which may affect the quality of scientific results can develop from intervening variables and extrapolation of results. This is a problem to internal validity and interpreting causal effects.

But, participating in a political debate and research requires a range of assumptions and caveats that the study will be subject to certain endogenous variables.

Bibliography

Bird, C. (2007). An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Bishop, R.C. (2007).  The Philosophy of the Social Sciences, New York: Continuum.

Gaus, G.F. (2000). Political Concepts and Political Theories, Westview Press, Boulder.

Graham, J., Haidt, J. & Nosek, B.A. (2009). Liberals and Conservatives Use Different Sets of Moral Foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(5): 1029-1046.

Heywood, A. (2004). Political Theory -An Introduction, Third Edition, Palgrave Basingstoke.

Huber, G.A. & Malhotra, N. (2013). Political Homophily in Social Relationships: Evidence from Online Dating Behavior. Yale University.

Johari, J. C. (2005). Principles of Modern Political Science, New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Limited.

Lamont, M. & Molnar, V. (2002). The study of boundaries in the social sciences. Annual Review of Sociology, 28(2): 167-195.

Mutz, D. C. (2002). Cross-cutting Social Networks. American Political Science Review, 96(3): 111- 126.