Advertisement

Chaos and Political Science: How Floods and Butterflies Have Proved to Be Relevant to Move Tables Closer

  • Joan Pere Plaza i Font
Chapter
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)

Abstract

Political Studies have traditionally struggled to acquire the status and reputation of a scientific discipline. Any historical overall review of the upsurge of Political Science show persisting debates on the predictive capacity of the study of politics or even on the possibility to elaborate law-based explanations of political phenomena.

In this vein Behaviouralism and Rational choice, which along the XX century undoubtedly became the two most important schools of research in Political Science, have strongly contributed to the normalization of the discipline, but also have incorporated, as a side-effect, a set of principles related to the Newtonian paradigm into Political Science.

This contribution argues that these assumptions require now further developments, and proposes the analytical framework provided by Chaos Theory as a plausible way to re-conceptualize the ontological and epistemological foundations of Political Science.

In so doing, it is defended that the school of research of Historical Institutionalism proportionates a rich conceptual framework in political analyses that perfectly fits the general assumptions of Chaos Theory. So much so, it is assumed that concepts intrinsically associated to this analytical approach such as path-dependency, increasing returns or critical junctures could arguably find their equivalents in the ideas of sensibility to initial conditions, irreversability of non-linear trajectories and breaking points.

Finally, it is defended that the history of the European Union integration provides unbeatable examples of how social and political processes can perfectly be narrated by means of the conceptual framework of Chaos Theory, and some particular episodes are discussed in a tentative way to open the door to richer and more specific empirical studies.

Keywords

Political science Chaos theory Historical institutionalism Path-Dependency European union 

References

  1. 1.
    Abbott, A. (1997). On the concept of turning point. Comparative Social Research, 16, 85–105.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Almond, G. (1988). Separate tables: Schools and sects in political science. PS: Political Science and Politics, 21(4), 828–842.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Almond, G. (1990). Discipline divided: Schools and sects in political science. London/Newbury Park/New Delhi: SAGE.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Almond, G. (1996). Political science: The history of the discipline. In R. E. Goodin, H.-D. Klingemann (Eds.), A new handbook of political science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Arthur, W. B. (1994). Increasing returns and path dependence in the economy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bennett, A., & Elman, C. (2006). Complex causal relations and case study methods: The example of path dependence. Political Analysis, 14, 250–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Boas, T. C. (2007). Conceptualizing continuity and change: The composite standard-model of path dependence. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 19(1), 33–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bogg, J., & Geyer, R. (Eds.). (2007). Complexity, science and society. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Braumoeller, B. F. (2003). Causal complexity and the study of politics. Political Analysis, 11, 209–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brown, T. A. (1996). Measuring chaos using the lyapunov exponent. In E. Elliott & L. D. Kiel (Eds.), Chaos theory in the social sciences (pp. 53–66). Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1965). The calculus of consensus: Logical foundations of constitutional democracy. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Butz, M. R. (1995). Chaos theory, philosophically old, scientifically new. Counseling and Values, 39(2), 84–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Byrne, D. (1998). Complexity theory and the social sciences. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Capoccia, G., & Kelemen, D. (2007). The study of critical junctures: Theory, narrative, and counterfactuals in historical institutionalism. World Politics, 59, 349–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chalmers, A. F. (1999). What is this thing called science? Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Farr, J. (1995). Remembering the revolution: Behavioralism in American political science. In J. Farr, Dr. & S. T. Leonard (Eds.), Political science in history: Research programs and political traditions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Farr, J., Dryzek, J. S., & Leonard, S. T. (Eds.). (1995). Political science in history: Research programs and political traditions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fernández Pasarín, A. M. (2008). Change and stability of the eu institutional system: The communitarization of the council presidency. Journal of European Integration, 30(5), 617–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Geyer, R. (2003). European integration, the problem of complexity and the revision of theory. Journal of Common Market Studies, 41(1), 15–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Geyer, R. (2004). Europeanisation, complexity and the British welfare state. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gibbons, M. T. (1990). Political science, disciplinary history and theoretical pluralism: A response to Almond and Eckstein. PS: Political Science and Politics, 23(1), 44–46.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos: Making a new science. New York: Viking Penguin.MATHGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Goodin, R. E., & Klingemann, H.-D. (1996). Political science: The discipline. In R. Goodin & H.-D. Klingemann (Eds.), A new handbook of political science. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Görtemaker, M. (2009). The failure of the EDC and European integration. In L. Kühnhardt (Ed.), Crises in the European integration: Challenges and responses, 1945–2005. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Greener, I. (2005). The potential of path dependence in political studies. Politics, 25(1), 62–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Grix, J. (2002). Introducing students to the generic terminology of social research. Politics, 22(3), 175–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gunnell, J. G. (2005). Political science on the cusp: Recovering a discipline’s past. American Political Science Review, 99(4), 597–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hall, P. A., & Taylor, R. C. (1996). Political science and the three new institutionalisms. Political Studies, 44, 936–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hay, C. (2002). Political analysis: A critical introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hempel, C. G. (1942). The function of general law in history. The Journal of Philosophy, 39(2), 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Herman, J. (1994). Chaologie, politique et nationalisme. Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée, 1(3), 385–415.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Horgan, J. (1995). From complexity to perplexity. Scientific American, 272(6), 104–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Jervis, R. (1997). System effects: Complexity in political and social life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Jopp, M., & Diedrichs, U. (2009). Learning from failure: The evolution of the eu’s foreign, security and defense policy in the course of the Yugoslav crisis. In L. Kühnhardt (Ed.), Crises in the European integration: Challenges and responses, 1945–2005. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kolata, G. (1977). Catastrophe theory: The emperor has no clothes. Science, 196(287), 350–351.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Kollman, K., Miller, J. H., & Page, S. E. (2000). Consequences of nonlinear preferences in a federal system. In D. Richards (Ed.), Political complexity: Nonlinear models of politics (pp. 23–45). The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kuhn, T. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kuznetsov, Y. A. (1998). Elements of applied bifurcation theory. New York: Springer.MATHGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Lewin, R. (1992). Complexity: Life at the edge of chaos. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Lorenz, E. N. (1972). Does the flap of a butterfly wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? Conferencia en el 139th meeting of the American association for the advancement of science (AAAS).Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Lorenz, E. N. (2000). The butterfly effect. In R. Abraham & Y. Ueda (Eds.), The chaos avant-garde memories of the early days of chaos theory (pp. 91–94). Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Loth, W. (2009). Sources of European integration: The meaning of failed interwar politics and the role of World War II. In L. Kühnhardt (Ed.), Crises in the European integration: Challenges and responses, 1945–2005. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Lowndes, V. (2002). Institutionalism. In D. Marsh & G. Stoker (Eds.), Theory and methods in political science. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ma, S.-Y. (2007). Political science at the edge of chaos? the paradigmatic implications of historical institutionalism. International Political Science Review, 28, 57–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Mahoney, J. (2000). Path dependency in historical sociology. Theory and Society, 29, 597–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Mahoney, J., & Villegas, C. (2007). Historical inquiry and comparative politics. In C. Boix & S. Stones (Eds.), Handbook of comparative politics (pp. 73–89). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Marsh, D., & Furlong, P. (2001). A skin, not a sweater: Ontology and epistemology in political science. In D. Marsh & G. Stoker (Eds.), Theory and methods in political science. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Marsh, D., & Savigny, H. (2004). Political science as a broad church: The search for a pluralist discipline. Politics, 24(3), 155–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Martín, M. Á., Morán, M., & Reyes, M. (1995). Iniciación al caos. Sistemas dinámicos. Madrid: Síntesis.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    McBurnett, M. (1996). Probing the underlying structure in dynamical systems: An introduction to spectral analysis. In L. D. Kiel & E. Elliott (Eds.), Chaos theory in the social sciences. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    McMillan, E. (2004). Complexity, organizations and change. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Moon, J. D. (1975). The logic of political inquiry: A synthesis of opposed perspectives. In F. T. Greenstein & N. W. Polsby (Eds.), Handbook of political science. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Norris, P. (1997). Towards a more cosmopolitan political science. European Journal of Political Research, 30(1), 17–34.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Opie, I., & Opie, P. (1951). Oxford dictionary of nursery rhymes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Peters, G., Pierre, J., & King, D. S. (2005). The politics of path dependency: Political conflict in historical institutionalism. The Journal of Politics, 67(4), 1275–1300.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Pierson, P. (1996). The path to European integration: A historical-institutionalist analysis. Comparative Political Studies, 29, 123–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Pierson, P. (1998). The path to European integration: A historical-institutionalist analysis. In W. Sandholtz & A. Stone Sweet (Eds.), European integration and supranational governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Pierson, P. (2000). Increasing returns, path dependence, and the study of politics. The American Political Science Review, 94(2), 251–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Pierson, P. (2004). Politics in time: History, institutions, and social analysis. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Pierson, P., & Skocpol, T. (2002). Historical institutionalism in contemporary social science. In: I. Katznelson & H. V. Milner (Eds.), Political science: The state of the discipline. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Plaza i Font, J. P. (2007). Dinámicas no-lineales en partidos políticos. El caso del Partido Popular Europeo. Barcelona: Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Plesk, P., & Wilson, T. (2001). Complexity science: Complexity, leadership and management in health care organizations. British Medical Journal, 323, 746–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Popper, K. (1959). The logic of scientific discovery. London: Hutchinson & Co.MATHGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Prigogine, I. (1993). Les lois du chaos. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Prigogine, I., & Stengers, I. (1996). La fin des certitudes: Temps, chaos et les lois de la nature. Paris: Editions O. Jacob.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Reisch, G. A. (1991). Chaos, history, and narrative. History and Theory, 30(1), 1–20.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Richards, D. (Ed.). (2000). Political complexity: Nonlinear models of politics. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Saperstein, A. M. (1992). Alliance building versus independent action: A nonlinear modeling approach to comparative international stability. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 36(3), 518–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Schram, S. (2003). Return to politics: Perestroika and postparadigmatic political science. Political Theory, 31(6), 835–851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Strauss, L. (1959). What is political philosophy? Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Thelen, K. (1999). Historical institutionalism in comparative politics. Annual Review of Political Science, 2, 369–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Tilly, C. (1995). To explain political processes. American Journal of Sociology, 100(6), 1594–1610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    van Middelaar, L. (2012). Le passage à l’Europe. Histoire d’un commencement. Paris: Éditions Gallimard.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Waldrop, M. M. (1992). Complexity: The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Escola Superior de Comerç InternacionalUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations