Forging a Discipline A Critical Assessment of Oxford's Development of the Study of Politics and International Relations in Comparative Perspective

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-04-15
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Forging a Discipline analyses the growth of the academic discipline of politics and international relations at Oxford University over the last hundred years. This century marked the maturation and professionalization of social science disciplines such as political science, economics, and sociology in the world's leading universities. The Oxford story of teaching and research in politics provides one case study of this transformation, and the contributors aim to use its specifics better to understand this general process. In their introductory and concluding chapters the Editors argue that Oxford is a critical case to consider because several aspects of the university and its organization seem, at first glance, to militate against disciplinary development and growth. Oxford's institutional structure in which colleges enjoyed autonomy from the central university until quite recently, its proximity to the practice of government and politics through the supply of a steady stream of senior administrators, politicians and prime ministers, and its emphasis on undergraduate teaching through intensive small group tutorials all distinguish the development of teaching and research on politics in the university from such competitors as Manchester or the LSE as explained in one of the contributions. These themes inform the book's chapters in which the contributors examine the founding of the first dedicated position in political science in the university, the study of the British Constitution and the development of electoral studies, the introduction and consolidation of international relations into the Oxford social science curriculum in contrast to the way in which war studies emerged, the commitment to research and teaching in political theory, the careful harvesting of area studies, particularly of Latin America and Eastern Europe including Russia, and the distinctive role of Oxford's two social science graduate colleges, Nuffield and St Antony's, in fostering a graduate programme of study and research. What emerges from these historically researched and analytical accounts is the surprising capacity of members of the politics discipline at Oxford to forge a leading place for their scholarly perspectives and research in such core parts of the discipline as political theory, the study of comparative politics as a subject rather than as an area, ideas about order in international relations and the scientific study of elections in Britain and comparatively. That these achievements occurred in a university lacking the formal system of hierarchy and, until the last decade, departmentalization makes this volume a valuable addition to studies of the professionalization of social science research and teaching in modern universities.

Author Biography

Christopher Hood, Gladstone Professor of Government, All Souls College, University of Oxford,Desmond King, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of American Government, Fellow of Nuffield College, University of Oxford,Gillian Peele, Fellow and Tutor in Politics, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford

Christopher Hood, FBA is Gladstone Professor of Government at the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford

Desmond King, FBA is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of American Government at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford

Gillian Peele, FRHistS is University Lecturer in Politics at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

Table of Contents

List of Contributors
Preface and Acknowledgements
Part I: Setting the Scene
1. Introduction, Christopher Hood, Desmond King, and Gillian Peele
Part II: Origins and Overview: The Academic Study of Politics in Oxford and Elsewhere
2. A Tale of Three Cities: the Early Years of Political Science in Oxford, London and Manchester, Rodney Barker
3. Warden Anson, All Souls College and the Curious Creation of the Gladstone Chair of Political Theory and Institutions at Oxford, c. 1908-1912., Simon J. D. Green
4. The Role of Specialist Graduate Colleges in Disciplinary Development, Laurence Whitehead
5. Paradigms Lost: How Oxford Escaped the Paradigm Wars of the 1960s and 70s., Alan Ryan
6. Political Science and Institution Building: Oxford in Comparative Perspective., Robert E. Goodin
Part III: Developments: What it led to, in Disciplines and Discoveries
7. Political Science and Institution Building: Oxford in Comparative Perspective., John Curtice
8. Constitutionalism since Dicey, Iain McLean
9. Political Theory, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences: Five Chichele Professors, David Miller
10. The Academic Normalization of International Relations at Oxford, 1920-2012: Structures Transcended, Martin Ceadel
11. The Study of War at Oxford 1909-2009, Hew Strachan
12. Beyond Zanzibar: The Road to Comparative Inductive Institutionalism, Jack Hayward
13. The Study of Communist and post-Communist Politics, Archie Brown and Stephen Whitefield
Part IV: An Assessment
14. Conclusion, Christopher Hood, Desmond King, and Gillian Peele

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