The Practical Import of Political Inquiry: Perestroika’s Last Stand

Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)


Chapter 2 continues the discussion of the relevance of political science to politics. These include Perestroikan and post-Perestroikan discussions such as the American Political Science Association (APSA) task force and the Perestroika-lite. They defend the view of experts that separates it from lay knowledge in a strong way and want to defend rigor while trying to find a way to be relevant. Perestroikans developed some promising ideas, but they were more concerned with disciplinary reform than with political practice. After reviewing several other promising efforts to link theory to practical interest, I discuss the character of a critical theory based on the participants’ perspective. In the latter, I argue that there is a reciprocal relation between the participant and the inquirer. The inquirer is on the same epistemological and ontological level as the participant. Inquiry is a matter of mutual critique. Any claims to expertise must be redeemed by mutual understanding.


Perestroika Impact and relevance Mutual critique Critical theory Participants’ perspective Public sociology Political science Quantitative versus qualitative approaches 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RochesterUSA

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