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Approaches to explanation in political science

11 Aprile 2014
San Francesco - Via della Quarquonia 1 (Classroom 2 )
How can political and social phenomena be systematically explained? The presentation will focus on approaches which seek to create theoretically embedded, generalizable knowledge of specific empirical political and social phenomena. These approaches focus on theory development and the use of empirical cases or observations as illustrations or as a way of testing hypotheses and theories. In doing it is sought to pose ‘why’ questions by clearly stating what should be explained (explanandum) by which factor(s) (explanans) and by which causal processes or causal mechanisms. Such generally stated claims or hypotheses are then subject to systematic empirical scrutiny in which a variety of methods may be used. Different kinds of explanation will be presented: a deductive vs inductive approach, comparative statics, causal mechanisms, explanatory frameworks and modular explanations and causal reconstruction. The different modes and aspects of explanation will be illustrated by empirical examples.
Héritier , Adrienne