Buffeted from all sides because it is not sufficiently generalizing and scientific, because it sticks to outdated notion of field research, and because it is not “relevant” to the career concerns of the average American Student, the subfield of comparative politics seems to have fallen on evil days. Peter Sackman (PS Summer 1975 vol. VIII, no. 3, 262–263) singles out the subfield for adverse comment in his report on dissertations completed and in progress. One would not quarrel with his treatment if it were justified by even the simplest tests of statistical honesty. One doubts that Mr. Sackman is out to “get” comparative politics, but if he should claim to be a friend, then the subdiscipline has not need for enemies.
In the last paragraph of his essay he notes the “marked decline of additions in category VII” (comparative politics). No quarrel with that, for it showed the largest numerical decline of any subdiscipline. But Figure I, showing dissertation increases and decreases for the subdisciplines, indicates that category IV (U.S. State and Local Government) suffered a greater percentage decline, 28% vs. 24% for comparative politics. Six of the eight subdisciplines suffered some decline. Only one, Public Administration, showed a marked increase, viz. 65%. So why single out comparative politics for special mention?