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Perspectives on Politics

A Political Science Public Sphere

Perspectives on Politics seeks to provide a space for broad and synthetic discussion within the political science profession and between the profession and the broader scholarly and reading publics. Such discussion necessarily draws on and contributes to the scholarship published in the more specialized journals that dominate our discipline. At the same time, Perspectives seeks to promote a complementary form of broad public discussion and synergistic understanding within the profession that is essential to advancing research and promoting scholarly community.

Perspectives seeks to nurture a political science public sphere, publicizing important scholarly topics, ideas, and innovations, linking scholarly authors and readers, and promoting broad reflexive discussion among political scientists about the work that we do and why this work matters.


Recent Editor's Report

Current Issue: Volume 14, Issue 3

About the September Issue: US political science has much to contribute to the understanding of this electoral contest and its underlying dimensions, dynamics, and likely consequences. This issue of Perspectives contains a variety of articles, essays, and reviews of direct relevance to the election and to the broader dynamics of U.S. politics.

It seems appropriate to lead our issue with Jennifer J. Jones’s “Talk Like a Man: The Linguistic Styles of Hillary Clinton.” Conducting extensive research of Clinton’s linguistic style from 1993 to 2013, she draws a general conclusion: “Women pursuing leadership positions are not simply halted by a glass ceiling, but by a labyrinth of obstacles they must navigate along the way.”

Janet Elise Johnson’s “Fast-Tracked or Boxed In? Informal Politics, Gender, and Women’s Representation in Putin’s Russia” reminds us that these dynamics are rather universal, or at least in play in a range of places beyond the United States. Johnson argues that the inclusion of women into electoral politics is an important gain for gender equality but also a double-edged sword.

Theda Skocpol and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez’s “The Koch Network and Republican Party Extremism” centers on another theme vividly dramatized in this election, not in the opposition of Trump and Clinton but in the opposition of Sanders and Clinton: the role of private wealth, and of class and distributive conflict more generally, in politics.

Jacob Hacker’s “America’s Welfare Parastate” nicely complements Skocpol and Fernandez’s article, reviewing a growing literature on the distinctive features of the American welfare state, which is comparatively stingy in its social spending but comparatively lavish in its provision of “social benefits delivered or subsidized through the tax code.”

Our issue contains a very important piece of public opinion research, Morris Levy, Matthew Wright and Jack Citrin’s “Mass Opinion and Immigration Policy in the United States.” Levy, Wright, and Citrin argue that the scholarly conventional wisdom is that this patchwork of policies is unpopular, and that it persists, rather than giving way to a more restrictive policy, because of the influence of “elites and organized lobbies” that support a liberal and relatively permissive regime—a view that parallels the arguments made by advocates of immigration restriction.

Race also plays an obvious role in the current election cycle. The substantial weakness of the Republican Party in attracting support from African-Americans and Latinos has been widely noted in the press, and Black Lives Matter activists have been very visible both in demonstrating against the Trump campaign and in pressing the Sanders and Clinton campaigns to be more responsive to links between race, criminalization, and state-sanctioned violence. These themes feature prominently in our Critical Dialogue between Michael Javen Fortner, author of Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment and Daniel Kato, author of Liberalizing Lynching: Building a New Radicalized State.

Our symposium features current APSA President Jennifer Hochschild, APSA Past President Dianne Pinderhughes, National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCBPS) President Todd Shaw, NCBPS President-elect Shayla Nunnally, Eldon Eisenach, Desmond Jagmohan, Dara Strolovitch and Chaya Crowder, and David Wilson. The issue also contains two terrific “Praxis” essays that reflect on the practical opportunities and challenges associated with direct involvement in political campaigns: Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber’s “Voter Mobilization, Experimentation, and Translational Social Science” and Hahrie Han and Elizabeth McKenna’s “Political Science, Field Campaigns, and Democratic Praxis.”

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Perspectives on Politics
Department of Political Science
Indiana University, Bloomington
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