№ 1, 2021
The authors view the main issues raised in Charles Merriam’s article The Present State of the Study of Politics in the context of the current trends in the development of political knowledge in Russia and worldwide. Merriam proposed a new view of Political Science as a scientific discipline with its own research goals related to the empirical study of the political behavior of people. Merriam’s approach to determining the status of Political Science within the framework of social knowledge assumed delineating its own problem field and identifying those factors that determine events taking place in this field. Merriam emphasized the relativity of both the autonomy of politics and the significance of the impacts that are exerted upon politics.
Professional organization and coordination of political studies (one of Merriam’s key initiatives) at the beginning of the 21st century are associated with the competition between hierarchical and network models of interaction between representatives of the Political Science community. Moreover, the current state of discipline in Russia is largely determined by the specifics of its institutionalization. Unlike the United States, where the evolution of Political Science took place under the decisive influence of formalized knowledge, the Russian Political Science is still influenced by some of the approaches inherent in the old-fashioned institutionalism. The movement of Political Science in the direction of interdisciplinary synthesis, which received its impetus from the scientific and organizational activities of Merriam, was not linear. The current methodological configuration of the discipline is most adequately expressed in the concept of “multiparadigmality”, which does not solve the problem of b ringing together conflicting methodologies.
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