Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-First Century / Edition 1

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Overview

The conditions that shaped the rise and expansion of American social science are rapidly changing, and with them, the terms of its relationship with power and policy. As globalization has diminished the role of the state as the locus of public policy in favor of NGOs, multinational corporations and other private entities, it has raised important questions about the future of the social sciences and their universalist pretensions.

As dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, Lisa Anderson has a unique vantage point on the intersection of social sciences, particularly political science, and public-policy formation and implementation. How do, or should, the research and findings of the academy affect foreign or domestic policy today? Why are politicians often quick to dismiss professors as irrelevant, their undertakings purely "academic", while scholars often shrink from engagement as agents of social or political change? There is a tension at work here, and it reveals a deeper compromise that arose as the modern social sciences were born in the nursery of late nineteenth century American liberalism: social scientists would dedicate themselves to the pursuit of objective, empirically verifiable truth, while relinquishing the exercise of power to governments and their agents. Anderson argues that this compromise helped underwrite the expansion of American influence in the twentieth century, and that it needs serious reexamination at the dawn of the twenty-first.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

International Studies Review - Johan Eriksson

Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power is an important, argumentative, and highly accessible book that should interest social scientists and public policy practitioners alike...It should be required reading for students of social science in general, and students of public policy in particular.

Public Administration Review

This book offers a unique perspective on the interplay of the social sciences and public policy and discusses the emerging challenges with the privatization of the public sector and globalization of social sciences.

International Studies Review
Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power is an important, argumentative, and highly accessible book that should interest social scientists and public policy practitioners alike...It should be required reading for students of social science in general, and students of public policy in particular.

— Johan Eriksson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231126076
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 7/27/2005
  • Series: Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Anderson is dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Understanding Intervention and the Common GoodA Science of Politics: The American History of Scientific Policy and PolicymakingA Marketplace of Ideas: Social Science and Public Policy Beyond GovernmentWars and Webs: Global Public Policy and International Social ScienceConcluding Thoughts: Social Science, Policymaking, and the Common Good in the Twenty-first CenturyNotesReferencesIndex

Columbia University Press

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