Practicing History Without a License (Richard J. Samuels)
This essay explores the ways in which political scientists, always borrowers of the tools and concepts of related disciplines, have been using history. Far some, the attraction is to the historical institutionalism and its sociological! antecedents - the inductive answer to the analytical challenge presented by the need lo understand how the past constrains the present. Others lean toward the deductive answer derived from game theory and the economics tradition. Too few political scientists study history directly, using original sources. And too few use comparison lo gain analytical leverage on the narratives they relate. Different political scientists adapt different approaches because they ask different historical questions. Whether they choose to deepen their area study knowledge of their methodological skills, political scientists are characteristically opportunistic about getting answers.