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History - Theory = ? [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (1979) History - Theory = ? [Book Review]. Reviews in American History, 7 (2). pp. 157-162. ISSN 0048-7511.

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Despite the fact that it emerged at roughly the same time as the "new economic history," the so-called "new political history" has, it seems to me at least, generated significantly fewer fresh, stimulating interpretations of American history than its cliometric sibling. That we political historians have produced no counterpart to, for example, Time on the Cross is due less to our lack of press agentry and desire to shock the bourgeois (on which Fogel and Engerman have no monopoly) than to differences in the character of the social science disciplines on which the new economic and political historians have drawn. Most economic historians have been trained in departments of economics, and have consequently been force-fed that rich blend of rigorous deductive microtheory and sophisticated statistics which distinguishes economics from all the other social sciences. Most political historians, on the other hand, have taken their Ph.D.s in history departments and absorbed political science, sociology, or social psychology as side dishes. More important, these side orders contain considerably less of the micro- theory/statistics spice than economics does. What has distinguished the final products of the cliometric twins is less the economic historians' familiarity with high-powered econometrics (the gap between the two offspring in this respect seems to be closing) than the disjunction between statistics and theory in political history, indeed, the gross underdevelopment of historical (or much other) political theory at all. The work under review, the product of a June 1973 Cornell conference sponsored by the Mathematical Social Science Board, unfortunately illustrates, rather than over- comes, these deficiencies in political history.

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URLURL TypeDescription Review Publisher
Alternate Title:The History of American Electoral Behavior
Additional Information:© 1979 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Book review of: Joel H. Silbey, Allan G. Bogue, and William H. Flanigan, eds. The History of American Electoral Behavior. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978. xv + 384 pp. ISBN: 9780691075907
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131009-114250525
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Official Citation: The History of American Electoral Behavior. by Joel H. Silbey; Allan G. Bogue; William H. Flanigan Review by: J. Morgan Kousser Reviews in American History , Vol. 7, No. 2 (Jun., 1979), pp. 157-162 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41824
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:21 Oct 2013 15:18
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:52

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