Hay, Colin (2002) "Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction"

This book is probably the best introduction to political science available. It’s a profound yet readable introduction to some of the fundamental questions of political analysis.

The author Colin Hay, currently Professor at the University of Sheffield, develops a critical approach to political science that’s based on a critical-realistic foundation.

The book covers a broad range of topics: It starts with a general introduction to the field of political science and international relationship and its different theories and „schools“. The second chapter deals with the question „What’s Political about Political Science?“ and the importance of ontology and epistemology. The other chapters are concise summaries of some of the most important meta-questions of social and political science: structure and agency, explaining social/political change, concepts of power, the roles of ideas and the challenge of postmodernism.

The book is not a step-by-step introduction to political analysis as a method but an attempt to raise the awareness for some fundamental questions of social science in general. It argues for the need of a critical political analysis that takes into account all these questions.



What’s Political about Political Science?
Beyond Structure versus Agency: Context versus Conduct
Continuity and Discontinuity in the Analysis of Political Change
Divided by a Common Language? Conceptualising Power
The Discursive and the Ideational in Contemporary Political Analysis: Beyond Materialism and Idealism
The Challenge of Postmodernism
Conclusion: Critical-Political-Analytical


Colin Hay (2002): Political Analysis. A Critical Introduction
314 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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