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Is the discipline of political science a specific by-product of democratic regimes? Can it develop and have an impact only where democracy itself is flourishing? Or is it possible to forge such a discipline in authoritarian and transitional regimes? Can political science shape the democratic process in established democracies? Can it foster liberalization in countries attempting to rid themselves of authoritarian regimes?
The contributors to this volume seek answers to these questions from methodological and substantive perspectives. The methodological debate is presented in terms of whether the goal of objectivity and neutrality in disciplinary history is desirable and attainable, or whether all such histories are inherently "whiggish" or "pessimistic," and mere ex-post facto justifications of a particular disciplinary perspective. The volume then explores the relationship between democracy and the development of political science in a variety of national settings and political regimes, including older Western democracies, newer democracies, and current transitional regimes.
The contributions reflect both consensus and disagreement about the nature of the interactive relationship between political science and democracy. Indeed, a fundamental debate centers on the very terms democracy and political science. Nevertheless, with one or two exceptions, the participants do acknowledge that some kind of relationship does in fact exist between democracy and political science, be it interactive and correlational or causal.