Politics as a Process Structured in Space and Time. 2010.Abstract.
Prepared for a Workshop on Institutional Change, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, March 4-6, 2010. Please note this is a very rough draft. Comments welcome. What do we see when we look at the political world across space and time? In large measure, that depends on what we are looking for and the lens through which we look. This is as true of political science today as it was of seventeenth century scientists looking for phlogiston through rudimentary microscopes. Moreover, by conditioning what we can see, the lens we use conditions our assumptions about what we should see, notably about causal structures in the world, and thus what we find. From time to time, it is worthwhile asking whether we are looking for the right things through the right lenses.