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Interpretive Political ScienceSelected Essays, Volume II$
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R. A. W. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786115.001.0001

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Further on Down the Road, Blurring Genres

Further on Down the Road, Blurring Genres

(p.3) 1 Further on Down the Road, Blurring Genres
Interpretive Political Science

R. A. W. Rhodes

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 is a short biographical exercise describing the author’s journey from policy networks and governance (see Volume I) to the interpretive turn and ethnography. It tells the story of how the author sought to work out the implications of anti-foundational philosophy for the study of politics, especially British government and public administration. It also introduces the notion of blurring genres or drawing on the genres of thought and presentation common in the humanities. The chapter argues, following Richard Rorty, that an interpretive approach grounded in observational fieldwork is about edification—a way of finding new, better, more interesting, fruitful ways of speaking about politics and government (Rorty 1980: 360). The author believes an interpretive approach provides a new and better way of speaking about political science and public administration. The author is also convinced that observation continues to be an underused but vital part of the political scientists’ toolkit.

Keywords:   interpretive turn, naturalism, blurring genres, edification, ethnography, narrative

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