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No conceptual questions in political science have“once-and-for-all” answers.

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The general areas of study in political science include American government and politics, political theory, public administration, public law, comparative politics and international relations....

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The Populist revolt and the Progressive movement were fertile political environments for an intellectual revolt against the formalist-idealism of the early discipline. The method of economic interpretation led to a new iteration of Staatswissenschaft that seemed better able to explain the political conflicts of the era. During the 1890s, there were several miscues in the effort to define “the method of economic interpretation,” including both skirmishes and dialogues with Marxian historical materialists. The major breakthrough came from Edwin R. A. Seligman, a political economist in Columbia’s Faculty of Political Science. Seligman’s general statement of the economic interpretation of history is that:

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James Wilson, a political science professor at Pepperdine University in California, suggests that polarization is indeed relevant in modern society and that it will eventually cause the downfall of America....

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However, the interest in state theory waned temporarily as many political scientists abandoned the quest for grand theory in the context of a more widespread intellectual disillusionment with grand scale metanarratives, such as state theory and their attendant transformational political projects. The shift from Marxist to post-Marxist to poststructuralist and postmodernist theory shifted the analysis of power from macroscopic to microscopic forms of power and, therefore, to the multiple “technologies of power” such as language, family, interpersonal relationships, culture, leisure and entertainment, and the configurations of repressed desire (Foucault 1972, p. 12).

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One of the most significant intellectual challenges to the behavioralist paradigm and to pluralist theory was the return to the state initiated in the late 1960s by Marxists, such as Ralph Miliband and Nicos Poulantzas and then carried forward by the “new institutionalists.” Nicos Poulantzas’s Pouvoir Politique et Classes Sociales (1968), and Ralph Miliband’s The State in Capitalist Society (1969) directly challenged systems analysis and pluralist theory by drawing on a radical tradition identified with the writings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, V. I. Lenin, and Antonio Gramsci. These authors developed theories of the state that questioned the basic assumptions of the dominant political science, particularly its assumption that political power is distributed more or less equally among different social groups. At the height of his popularity in the mid-1970s, Miliband was recognized as one of the leading political scientists in the English-speaking world, while Nicos Poulantzas was arguably the most influential political theorist in the world for a time.

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Furthermore, again despite Portis' claims to the contrary, part of the power and allure of Weber lies in the dual legacy that he handed down: He succeeded, at least in the totality of his work, in being overtly political while remaining true to his integrity as a social scientist. At least one work by Weber -- his short essay titled "The President of the Reich" -- directly bears this out. And even if, as Portis argues, Weber did become psychologically tormented by the tension he felt between his need to voice his political views and his need to feel integrity as a social scientist, what allowed him, in the end, to succeed in being both political and scientific was his two-tiered approach to value-free social science.