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Political Paradigms: An Introduction to Politics and Social Science
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By Liggett, Eric
ISBN 1846220211
Paperback  210 pages
 
Published 19 June 2009
UK Price £14.95   Order from amazon.co.uk
US Price $27.95   Order from amazon.com

We may hazard the statement that, in general, a pupil will feel that he or she is receiving hard knowledge: the student, by contrast, quickly encounters materials involving degrees of uncertainty. What have we here? Politics, Economics, or Psychology, Definition or Concept, Knowledge or Conjecture, Theory or Hypothesis? There is the jocular academic greeting: 'How's the conceptual framework?' Can we ever achieve finality in understanding the Social Sciences? Without aframe-of-reference we are lost: with a chosen frame we are each guilty of a degree of subjectivity, some narrowing of our awareness. With this volume a new attempt is made to examine the various divisions of Political Studies and the place of such studies in the context of Social Science.What is offered is a conspectus - favoured divisions of the field, vocabularies, a bibliography, and an extended index to facilitate access to the text.The table-of-contents reveals a progression. In the first main section, after short references to 'History' and 'Politics', a number of case studies are outlined. This 'Description', the telling of stories, may be seen as a useful way of approaching our discipline - useful but not necessarily easy. Think of the story of Britain's acquisition of nuclear weaponry, the evolution of our administration in dealing with the European Union. These descriptive sections are presented in a manner to prefigure and to correlate with materials in later chapters. Further sections, 'Analysis' and 'Synthesis', present more of a challenge to the new student.. How much geometry does a bricklayer need? As with his earlier book (What is a University? Gressingham Press) the author seeks to validate the assertion - 'Know the whole, better to understand the parts'. The book need not be devoured in the first few weeks' studies! Students are right to be concerned with relevance. While not seeking to compete with the journalists, the 'Values and Action' section presents a review of the ultimate concerns of today's political life.'Addendum' gives a short account of the development of teaching of politics - i.e. 'Politics' with a capital letter.

Eric Liggett has worked in various branches of the Post Office before entering Manchester University as a mature student. He studied Politics and Modern History under Professor W J M McKenzie. There and subsequently he researched the Constituency Work of Manchester and Salford MPs; the Macmillan/Heath arrangements for the UKs first attempt to enter the Common Market; and Mature Entry into University in the UK, France, and Germany.


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