How Social Science Creates the World: A Conversation with Mark Bevir

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - Political Science

This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and UC Berkeley political scientist Professor Mark Bevir. Mark Bevir is an internationally acclaimed expert in the theory of governance. This thought-provoking conversation explores how attempts to shoehorn political science into a natural science framework commonly fail and how correctly appreciating what social science is and does has a direct bearing on our everyday social lives. 

By adopting the false belief that the social world is composed of some unchanging, fundamental entities on par with atoms or molecules—be they markets or classes or what have you—we will have no means of recognizing, or even describing, what happens when circumstances change and a new social dynamic is created.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, One of a Kind, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Creating a Political Philosopher - From mathematics to social science

II. The Power of Philosophy - How to change the world

III. What is Political Science, Anyway? - Science vs. interpretation

IV. Knowing One’s Limits - Distinguishing heuristic utility from a scientific truth

V. Missing the Boat - Beyond outdated dichotomies

VI. Networks - What they are and how they arose

VII. Analyzing Governance - How social science makes the world

VIII. The Mechanisms of Influence - Investigating social traction

IX. From Theory to Practice - Appreciating a mix of strategies

X. Doing Things Better - The importance of listening

XI. Starting Over - A lone wolf takes charge, at least theoretically

XII. Going Global - Encouraging pluralism and open patterns


About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series 

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert in a relaxed and informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks.



 

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Contents

A Note on the Text
Introduction
The Conversation
Creating a Political Philosopher
The Power of Philosophy
What is Political Science Anyway?
Knowing Ones Limits
Missing The Boat
Networks
Analyzing Governance
The Mechanisms of Influence
From Theory To Practice
Doing Things Better
Starting Over
Going Global
Copyright

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas Roadshow and Ideas on Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. He was the Founding Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) from 1999-2007. During his time at PI, he also developed an extensive outreach programme for teachers, students and the general public. His experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of the institute were described in the book First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by renowned theoretical physicist Roger Penrose.

Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative, recipient of the London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2018. Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 of the world’s brightest thinkers, including 3 Nobel Laureates, across the arts, sciences, sports and games. 



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