This introductory article investigates the relationship between interdisciplinarity and the study of politics, drawing on the symposium papers. Beginning with a brief historiography of the study of politics/political science, we then explain what we understand by ‘interdisciplinarity’. Next, we explore the potential benefits of an interdisciplinary approach in political research, and also identify some of its shortcomings and potential pitfalls. Finally, while acknowledging the need for more debate, we give some doubtless partial guidance regarding further interdisciplinary research.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
As Ross notes in her symposium contribution, a previous wave of interdisciplinarity in the 1960s–1970s was motivated by more radical politics and ideas of the academy.
1 However, see Newell (2001) for a discussion of how much we need to master disciplines other than our own to work with them. Newell does not argue that we can simply treat other disciplines as treasure chests into which we can plunge our greedy hands at will; he does, however, maintain that it is enough to understand the basics of the other disciplines with which we are engaging if we then draw on a deep appreciation of the particular parts of it that are most germane for the project at hand.
Bevir, M. (2006) ‘Political studies as narrative and science, 1880–2000’, Political Studies 54 (3): 583–606.
Burnell, P. (2003) ‘Perspectives’, in P. Burnell (ed.) Democratization through the Looking Glass, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 1–19.
Cini, M. (2006) ‘The “State of the Art” in EU studies: from politics to interdisciplinarity (and back again?)’, Politics, Special Issue: The State of the Art, P. Taggart and C. Lees (eds.), 26 (1): 38–46.
Foster, H. (1998) ‘Trauma Studies and Interdisciplinarity: An Overview’, in A. Coles and A. Defert (eds.) The Anxiety of Interdisciplinarity, London: Backless Books, pp. 157–168.
Geyer, R. (2003) ‘European integration, the problem of complexity and the revision of theory’, JCMS 41 (1): 15–35.
Heywood, A. (2002) Politics, 2nd edn, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Klein, J.T. (1990) Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory and Practice, Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
Klein, J.T. (2004) ‘Interdisciplinarity and complexity: an evolving relationship’, E:CO 6 (1–2): 2–10.
Kuhn, T. (1970) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Lipset, S.M. (1969) ‘Politics and the Social Sciences – Introduction’, in S.M. Lipset (ed.) Politics and the Social Sciences, London/New York: Oxford University Press, pp. vii–xxii.
Moran, J. (2002) Interdisciplinarity, London: Routledge.
Newell, W. (2001) ‘A theory of interdisciplinary studies’, Issues in Integrative Studies 19: 1–25.
Rhoten, D. (2004) ‘Interdisciplinary research: trend or transition?’, Items and Issues 5: 6–11.
Rosamond, B. (2005) ‘Globalization, the ambivalence of European integration and the possibilities for a post-disciplinary EU studies’, Innovations 18 (1): 23–43.
Snow, C.P. (1965) The Two Cultures: And a Second Look, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Taggart, P. and Lees, C. (2006) ‘Politics – the state of the art’, Politics 26 (1): 1–2.
Tansey, S. (2000) Politics – The Basics, London: Routledge.
Van den Besselaar, P. and Heimericks, G. (2001) ‘Disciplinarity, Multidisciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity – Concepts and Indicators’, paper to 8th Conference on Scientometrics and Infometrics (ISSI 2001), Sydney, Australia, 16-20/7/01.
Warleigh, A. (2004) ‘In defence of intra-disciplinarity: “European Studies”, the “New Regionalism” and the issue of democratisation’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 17 (2): 301–318.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Warleigh-Lack, A., Cini, M. Interdisciplinarity and the Study of Politics. Eur Polit Sci 8, 4–15 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1057/eps.2008.15
- political science
- political studies