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Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research$
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Daniel Béland and Robert Henry Cox

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736430.001.0001

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Ideology, History, and Politics

Ideology, History, and Politics

(p.105) 5 Ideology, History, and Politics
Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research

Sheri Berman

Oxford University Press

After years of neglect, scholars have once again begun studying the role played by concepts such as ideas, norms, and culture in political life. While this literature has advanced our understanding of political actors and outcomes in critical ways, it is also plagued by a number of problems, one of which is the focus of this chapter: its status quo bias. The chapter presents a reexamination of social democracy as a reminder of the need to analyze carefully the role played by both structure and agency, and the need for different types of historical analysis and process tracing in order to understand the two-stage process by which ideologies rise and fall. A better understanding of how and why ideologies develop, in turn, can critically contribute to the ideational “wave” currently sweeping through the social sciences.

Keywords:   ideas, norms, culture, political life, status quo, ideologies, social democracy

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