The Problem of Political Science and Practical Politics

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Abstract

We reflect on the reasons why there is not a greater and more fruitful relationship between those who seek to understand policy and the political process from academia and those with a similar task in ‘practical politics’. We attribute this lack of engagement to three core factors: (1) from without, instrumental government visions of political science perpetuate the view that the discipline exists to serve those with power; (2) from within, scientism and abstraction diminish the discipline's stock of ‘usable’ product for ‘practical politics’; and (3) where relevant research exists, its uptake is hampered by limited communication between these spheres.

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