Josep Colomer considers the correct classification of political scientists as he is mildly annoyed with the Academia Europaea’s grouping of law and political science:
…political scientists would be put together with lawyers, which seems to me a rather old-fashion pair. Indeed the dominion of law in political studies, which certainly promoted comparative studies on political regimes and structures from different regions and countries of the world, was strong until early twentieth century. But this persuasion was largely superseded with that of sociology, implying the diffusion of empirical, inductive methods, since mid-twentieth century, and the import of formal models, mathematical refinements and deductive reasoning from economics in the last few decades. All these contributions have been somehow cumulative. The scientific method indeed requires both empirical observations, quantitative measurements, and logical models. But the current developments in advanced research and graduate teaching do not seem to fit the coupling of Political science with Law.
Some quick observations:
- Does political science have a proper academic identity? In Colomer’s description, it looks as if PolSci has gone from being derivative of (constitutional) law to being derivative of sociology to being derivative of economics.
- That said, I would agree that there is – or rather: was – a link between some traditions in political science and law – this became especially obvious to me during my time in Sweden. (Which also points to differences between countries).
- …and that the behavioural revolution did a lot to redefine PolSci as an academic discipline.
- Colomer doesn’t consider that PolSci also has a basis in qualitative methods. Does this mean that research based on case studies or qualitative data shouldn’t be considered true PolSci?