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Noam Chomsky pp 99-120 | Cite as

Method, Methodology, and Politics

  • Alison Edgley
Part of the Critical Explorations in Contemporary Political Thought book series (CEPT)

Abstract

In this chapter I seek to explore how and in what ways Chomsky’s voluminous works on American foreign policy provide practical examples of a critical realist research approach in social science. The purpose for doing this is two-fold. First, Chomsky’s political analysis has been systematically sidelined and dismissed within the academy as being of extremist nature, and therefore worthy only of being treated as polemic rather than works with social scientific pedigree. Chomsky himself does not go out of his way to lay claim to a consistent and consistently applied political philosophy, confining his thoughts on the subject to a number of interviews published by Otero (1988) and Barsamian (1992). However, these rarely appear alongside his analysis of political events, which may go some way to explaining the apparent ease with which he has been so summarily dismissed. Second, as Carter and New (2004) observe, critical realist approaches to social science are a comparatively recent development, and much writing about realism and social science has been directed towards philosophical concerns rather than demonstrating what critical realist research might look like. Situating Chomsky’s political writing within a critical realist framework, therefore, makes it possible to gain a greater appreciation of the intellectual depth of Chomsky’s extensive body of social science work, as well as examine how we might ‘do’ critical realist social science.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Causal Power Critical Realist Khmer Rouge Investment Climate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Alison Edgley 2015

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  • Alison Edgley

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