Political Contingency: Studying the Unexpected, the Accidental, and the Unforeseen

Political Contingency: Studying the Unexpected, the Accidental, and the Unforeseen

by Ian Shapiro, Sonu Bedi
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0814740448

ISBN-13: 9780814740446

Pub. Date: 11/01/2007

Publisher: New York University Press

History is replete with instances of what might, or might not, have been. By calling something contingent, at a minimum we are saying that it did not have to be as it is. Things could have been otherwise, and they would have been otherwise if something had happened differently. This collection of original essays examines the significance of contingency in the study

Overview

History is replete with instances of what might, or might not, have been. By calling something contingent, at a minimum we are saying that it did not have to be as it is. Things could have been otherwise, and they would have been otherwise if something had happened differently. This collection of original essays examines the significance of contingency in the study of politics. That is, how to study unexpected, accidental, or unknowable political phenomena in a systematic fashion. Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated. Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. How might history be different had these events not happened? How should social scientists interpret the significance of these events and can such unexpected outcomes be accounted for in a systematic way or by theoretical models? Can these unpredictable events be predicted for? Political Contingency addresses these and other related questions, providing theoretical and historical perspectives on the topic, empirical case studies, and the methodological challenges that the fact of contingency poses for the study of politics.

Contributors: Sonu Bedi, Traci Burch, Jennifer L. Hochschild, Gregory A. Huber, Courtney Jung, David R. Mayhew, Philip Pettit, Andreas Schedler, Mark R. Shulman, Robert G. Shulman, Ian Shapiro, Susan Stokes, Elisabeth Jean Wood, and David Wootton

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814740446
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2007
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents


Introduction: Contingency’s Challenge to Political Science
Ian Shapiro and Sonu Bedi
Part I Roots of Contingency
1 From Fortune to Feedback: Contingency and the Birth of Modern Political Science
David Wootton
2 Mapping Contingency
Andreas Schedler
3 Resilience as the Explanandum of Social Theory
Philip Pettit
Part II Contingency’s Challenge
4 Events as Causes: The Case of American Politics
David R. Mayhew
5 Contingent Public Policies and Racial Hierarchy: Lessons from Immigration and Census Policies
Jennifer Hochschild and Traci Burch
6 Region, Contingency, and Democratization
Susan Stokes
Part III What Is to Be Done?
7 Contingency, Politics, and the Nature of Inquiry: Why Non-Events Matter
Gregory A. Huber
9 When Democracy Complicates Peace: How Democratic Contingencies Affect Negotiated Settlements
Courtney Jung
10 Contingency in Biophysical Research
Robert G. Shulman and Mark R. Shulman
Contributors
Index

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