In both instances shared boundary conditions and theoretical vocabularies

In both instances shared boundary conditions and

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social, and political change across vast expanses of time and space. In both instances, shared boundary conditions and theoretical vocabularies employed by adherents of a research tradition facilitated the production and assessment of new knowledge claims concerning new phenomena. Later, these arguments invited challenges and became foils for newer research traditions, as in the case of neoliberalism and constructivism in inter-national relations or of rational-choice theory and historical institutionalism in comparative politics. Each of these newer traditions distinguished itselfby distinct sets ofoun- dational assumptions that facilitated the creation of new problematiques and new analytic frameworks that helped to expand the range of substantive arguments and the stocks of empirical knowledge in its respective field. To the extent that this stylized process is a reasonable representation of the changes that have occurred in the two subfields, it reveals why the emergence of, and competition between, research traditions can expand the fund of ideas, concepts, observations, and theories for a field. These intellectual benefits are valuable and should not be forfeited. However, they come at a high price in the absence of a counterweight in the form of eclectic modes of inquiry. Research traditions establish their identities and boundaries by insisting on a strong consensus on enduring and irreconcilable foundational issues. This, in turn, efectively privileges some concepts over others , rewards certain methodological norms and practices but not others, and places great weight on certain aspects of social reality while ignoring others . In fact, the battles among research traditions recur not because of hardened diferences over substantive issues but over preexisting epi- stemic convictions about what kinds ofsocial phenomena are amenable to social analysis, what kinds of questions are important to ask, and what kinds of processes and mechanisms are most likely to be relevant . Research tra-ditions give themselves permission to bypass aspects of a complex reality that do not neatly fit within the metatheo- retical parameters they have established by fiat. These aspects are either “blackboxed,” relegated to “context,” or treated as “exogenous.” Such simplifying moves , while helpful for the purpose of generating elegant knowledge claims about particular aspects of reality, are not independently capable of generating a more comprehensive understanding of complex, multi-faceted problems that interest scholars and policymakers alike . For this purpose, scholarly analysis needs to be more open-ended, proceeding from ontologies that, as Peter Hall notes, embrace “more extensive endogeneity and the ubiquity of complex interaction efects .”14 This is where analytic eclecticism has a distinctive role to play alongside, and in engagement with, diferent strands ofscholarship embedded in multiple research traditions.
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  • Winter '16
  • Jeff Hannan
  • Linear Regression, ........., Complex system, Nonlinear system, K. Chakka

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