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Johns, R (2010) 'Behaviouralism.' In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of British Politics. UNSPECIFIED. ISBN 9780199230952

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This article first reports the three key features of ('early') behaviouralism, namely its philosophy of social science, commitment to observable behaviour as the dependent variable in political analysis, and the commitment to 'scientific' methods. It also addresses the various reasons why, and ways in which, the British experience of behaviouralism is distinctive. The notion of post-behaviouralism, supposedly a new version emerging in response to potent criticisms of the approach, is considered. While the extent of change has been overstated, the postbehaviouralist critique highlights several criteria for evaluating the behaviouralist research. The article then imposes those criteria on to behaviouralism in Britain, and picks out some of its notable contributions to the understanding of British politics. It highlights the possible ways to improve that contribution further. Behaviouralism is a political science, but it is an inexact science, and in practice behaviouralists are always less rigidly positivist, and less grand in ambition, than is often assumed.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Clare Chatfield
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2013 15:15
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2021 22:15

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