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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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What is New About the ‘Interpretive Turn’ and Why Does it Matter?

What is New About the ‘Interpretive Turn’ and Why Does it Matter?

(p.207) 12 What is New About the ‘Interpretive Turn’ and Why Does it Matter?
Interpretive Political Science

R. A. W. Rhodes

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes what is new or edifying about the interpretive turn, and why this approach matters. It restates the case for drawing on the genres of thought and presentation common in the humanities, making the bold, contentious claim that the interpretive approach encourages creativity because puzzle-solving encourages imagination, even intuition, and a search for new connections. It replies to some of the more common criticisms of the interpretive approach, revisiting the claims that the author caricatures the political science discipline in Britain; accords too much importance to agency and not enough to structure; ignores the dominant political tradition in Britain; and omits institutions. Finally, it looks at the future of interpretivism in political science, focusing on the aesthetics of political science; and the importance of a tradition of scholarship free from the demands of relevance and impact. It argues that empathy, enabling conversations and edification, are equally worthy goals.

Keywords:   genre blurring, interpretation, abduction, creativity, agency, structure, tradition, institutions, practices, edification

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