Cultural policy in political science research

Authored by: Jonathan Paquette , Devin Beauregard

The Routledge Handbook of Global Cultural Policy

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138857827
eBook ISBN: 9781315718408
Adobe ISBN:


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Academic disciplines are, for better or worse, characterised by a certain sense of unity. They often share a common core of literature and – if only minimally – definition(s) of their object(s) of study. When students join a field, they subject themselves to a number of activities aimed at giving them the basic knowledge and essential references to that field. The socialisation process at play in a student’s education also conveys a number of competencies and dispositions that are seen as essential for progression in the field. When reflecting upon academic disciplines, the narrative of unity is important; it is a belief we entertain about the social world – especially when we approach the world through the lenses of education, training, and socialisation. When we introduce the narrative of research into the equation, academic disciplines – as social worlds – appear less homogeneous: less consensual and more competitive. A sociological look at academia reveals a paradoxical juxtaposition of unity and diversity, of divisions or fractures. These divisions can serve to shape the identity of a discipline; they act as both topography and map. In economic sciences, for instance, the divide between orthodox and heterodox economists is a key element to understanding the structure of theory development. In sociology, similar theoretical and methodological divides can be observed, though divisions in sociology can also come in the form of new objects and specialisations (e.g. a sociology of family, a sociology of labour, a sociology of art and culture, etc.), that reveal the proteiform nature of the discipline.

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