Schools of Political Science and the Development of a Discipline

author: Erkki Berndtson, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki
published: March 14, 2010,   recorded: February 2009,   views: 3989

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Curiously, the study of the history of political science has neglected the role of different “schools of political science” in shaping political science as a discipline. They are usually mentioned only in passing in histories of political science, though there are a few commemorative writings describing the development of these institutions. There are no systematic and comparative studies, however, on their impact on the emergence of political science as an independent academic subject. However, the experiences of the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris (1871), the Facoltà di Scienze Politiche in Florence (1874), the School of Political Science in Columbia University (1880), the London School of Economics and Political Science (1895), the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik in Berlin (1920), the Civic College in Helsinki (1925) and the Higher School of Political Sciences in Athens (1927) demonstrate that these schools have played a crucial role in the birth of political science as a discipline. Without them, the road to becoming a legitimate academic discipline in universities would have been far more difficult.

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