What Is Political Science? What Should It Be?

Bertell Ollman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article examines the five myths that govern political science: that it studies politics; that it is scientific; that one can study politics cut off from the other social sciences and history; that the state is neutral; and that the bulk of the work in the discipline furthers the cause of democracy. Within political science, there have been three main approaches to criticizing these myths: a moderate one that treats the elements in these myths as more or less disconnected; a radical one that sees a systemic connection between these elements but doesn't bring out what it is and how it works; and a Marxist one that names this system, “capitalism,” and privileges the role of the capitalist state in explaining both politics and political science.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)362-370
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Critical Thought
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2015


    • capitalism
    • democracy
    • Marxism
    • myths
    • political science

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations
    • Cultural Studies
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science


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