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Understanding Politics

Theory, Procedures, Narratives

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Tadeusz Klementewicz

This book analyses how contemporary political science can develop as a structure of knowledge gathered by the individual sub-disciplines of political studies, as well as the remaining disciplines of social sciences. It helps to get a fuller understanding of political phenomena and to reconstruct the process of emergence of the global civilisation. The author reflects about the current state of research conducted by political scientists. The research is conducted within a few major research paradigms. This work presents a strategy of integrating knowledge about man and society.

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Chapter 4: Understanding Politics – Humanistic Interpretation, Causal Explanation and Integral Explanation

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Chapter 4

Understanding Politics – Humanistic Interpretation, Causal Explanation and Integral Explanation

This section outlines the main procedures leading to an understanding of politics, none of which are unique to this discipline. They, however, play a different role in the research work of a political scientist, at times more and at times less prominent than in other social sciences. Let us take the sampling method as an example – it plays a fundamental role in demography or sociology, yet, due to the space politics occupies in the social world, it is of marginal importance in the empirical study of political phenomena. The functions of the state and politics determine the role of knowledge on political phenomena in the general structure of humanistic knowledge as well as the ways it is acquired. To begin with, let me consider the procedure of explanation.

4.1. The Role of Explanation in Understanding of Political Actions and Phenomena

The explanation is, quite legitimately, considered to be the very heart of science. It is the drive of the research metabolism. The answer to the question why a new quality of social life has appeared (i.e. subjectivity of people has increased, structures of community life have changed, the efficiency of human labour has gone up) requires applying the knowledge about mechanisms of social change as well as factographic understanding. This knowledge covers objectives, actions, and effects of actions planned by people as well as unintended, far-reaching effects of their historical activity....

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