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Networks in politics

- April 4, 2008

Via “Cosma Shalizi”:http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/565.html , this is a nice “tool”:http://oilmoney.priceofoil.org/ for mapping the relationship between donations from energy companies and politicians in Presidential, House and Senatorial elections. Since John has just “opinionated”:https://themonkeycage.org/2008/04/is_the_american_public_realist.html on an international relations piece, I figure I’m entitled to ask one question of Americanist political scientists. Why is it that there appears to be so little literature out there on this kind of network? Is it the difficulty of establishing causal relationships (although surely this would invalidate whole swathes of US political science if this standard were applied rigorously)? Is it difficulties in gathering the relevant data (Cosma notes that gathering it and cleaning it up is surprisingly hard)? The perceived publication practices of major US journals? I’m genuinely puzzled as to the reason why there’s this gap in the literature. Both comparativists (Jerry Easter) and IR scholars (Charli Carpenter) have published well regarded articles in the major journals of their field on the importance of networks in domestic and international settings. So why not Americanist political scientists? (Or perhaps, there is a significant body of work on this that has simply evaded my notice.)

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