Controlling the “Commanding Heights” of Political Science Education
Cover of issue 38
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Controlling the “Commanding Heights” of Political Science Education: A Survey of Political Economy Courses from an Author-Based Perspective. (2009). The Political Science Reviewer, 38, 229-245.


An essential aspect of any good undergraduate education involves introducing students to a wide array of intellectual models and theories. We often refer to this concept as allowing students to enter "the marketplace of ideas." It is the belief that a quality education requires that students be introduced to all types of competing intellectual movements. A good political science education would expose students to many epistemological approaches. In the field of political science, for example, there exists quality work arguing for the importance of historical and path-dependence models (Peters, 2001; Hall and Taylor, 1996; Koelble, 1995), the role of institutions and the "rules of the game" (Clayton & Gillman, 1999; Riker, 1962, 1982; Shepsle, 1979), rational-choice models (Downs, 1957; Olson, 1965, 1982; Mueller, 1989), psychological approaches (Dawes, 1988), and many more. If students of political science are to engage in debates that are important to our field, they need to be versed in a variety of scholarly theories.
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