What Political Science Needs to Learn from Science Studies
Cover of Volume 44 (1)
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Bruno Latour
Actor-Network Theory

How to Cite

What Political Science Needs to Learn from Science Studies. (2020). The Political Science Reviewer, 44(1), 21-40. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/604


Both political science and science studies are studies of the common, of efforts to come together, to discuss, deliberate, and decide.  The most exciting work in the human sciences in the last thirty years is in the sociology of science, yet this work has been ignored by practicing political scientists.  I explore two lessons that we political scientists need to learn from the sociology of science.  First, things happen somewhere:  policy is locally produced, that is to say, it is produced in places located within a network of people and things.  Second, to understand how and where things happen in politics we need to follow the actors into the sites where they make them happen.  In particular, we need to follow the actors in international relations, since the study of international institutions succeeds only inasmuch as it produces microstudies of how and where particular international norms and institutions are constructed.

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