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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines changes in the study of participant-observation in the field of political theory. It explains that in the early 1960s, political theory was widely considered as a moribund enterprise. Empiricists were pushing a new science of politics, designed to replace the options of constitutional interpretation, impressionistic theory, and traditionalism. But by the mid-1960s the end of ideology screeched to a halt because of growing outrage about the Vietnam War, worries among college students about the draft, and the emergence of a civil rights movement. The academic study of political theory was revived and a series of studies emerged to challenge the fact-value dichotomy, the difference between science and ideology, and the public roles of academics.

Keywords: political theory, participant-observation, empiricists, constitutional interpretation, impressionistic theory, traditionalism, Vietnam War, civil rights movement, fact-value dichotomy, academics

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