“Science and Politics” as a Political Factor: German and Italian Social Sciences in the Nineteenth Century

  • Pierangelo Schiera
Part of the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 15)


Studies on the history of political science have often focused on the development of the scientific discipline in so-called “internal” terms as opposed to an analysis of the impact of “external” phenomena such as political constellations, institutional arrangements, or state transformations. Epistemological and methodological considerations have tended to be at the center of interest — leading to classifying schemes which, while not without value, are certainly incapable of providing any type of more comprehensive understanding of the development of political analysis. Often, the main question has been that of the “scientific” status of early political science, “scientificity” being understood as the adherence to the “method of the generalizing sciences”, i.e. to a procedure which is supposed to have been successfully applied in the natural sciences. The social sciences are, thus, regarded and assessed from a perspective of the progress of scientific knowledge according to a more or less positivistic conception (1).


Nineteenth Century Political Science State Science German Science Political Class 
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  1. 1.
    These considerations were critically suggested by the reconstruction of Italian political science in the nineteenth century (to which I am indebted) made in the introductory essay by G. Sola, in D. Fiorot and G. Sola, “Positivismo e politica tra’ 800 e’ 900. Terza parte. Bibliografia sulla scienza politica in Italia (1861–1900)”. In Schema 8 (1986), Appendice al n. 2, pp. 11–85.Google Scholar
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

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  • Pierangelo Schiera

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