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Political Science and Publicity



Should political science be publicly relevant? Instead of furnishing a direct answer, I propose to complicate the question. Yet in doing so, I will indicate an answer. And the answer is yes, political science should be publicly relevant – but not in any simple sense, since ‘political science’, ‘should’ and indeed ‘publicly relevant’ are less straightforward than they might seem. In what follows I will first complicate the questions posed to political science. I will proceed to reflect on the connection between publication – one of the central activities of all science, including political science – and publicity. I will then briefly tell a story about the journal that I edit, Perspectives on Politics, and the distinctive mission of this journal, which is to serve as ‘a political science public sphere’. I will conclude with some brief reflections on the best ways of thinking about how political science can and should be ‘publicly relevant’.

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