“In Search of General Theory”
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Most sub-fields of research in political science are today at an intellectual plateau well short of general theory. Many have been at that plateau since about 1980. Several reasons might account for this situation, including the challenge of constructing general theory. I argue, however, that some of our must common educational and research practices also retard theoretical progress. I describe those practices and their unfortunate consequences, but also explicate a series of research strategies that would help advance our theoretical work. As a foundation for the preceding arguments, I characterize the theory building ambitions of the discipline, our progress toward general theory, and how advances toward such theory can be mapped for any science.