Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 January 2018
Reflections collected here come from researchers from various academic centres in Europe and support the notion that political science, with its long tradition of analysing the development of societies in nation-states, is constantly searching for ever-newer ways to describe and explain the modern world. This search is visible in the undertaken research problems, methods and techniques used and the way research and education of political science are organised. This should not come as a surprise, as it seems highly probable that we are caught in the middle of a process of breaking up the continuity of social development and are witnessing a deep transformation. The changes seem to have outpaced not only science but also politics. We may be in need of a new approach, a different strategy for how the discipline of political science functions and how research is organised in order to truly see this new world being born.
We believe that reflection on political science as a scientific discipline at the dawn of the 21st century can become a good reference point to open a discussion among competent researchers, on the basis of which they could work out thorough and informed suggestions regarding revisiting the organizational structure and the basic programme to be taught to students of political science. Our activities should be aimed at making political science an important field of knowledge indispensable in political practice, a discipline which not only describes and explains but also allows us to make sense of the rapid changes taking place in the political organization of society and a discipline capable of improving the quality of state-society relations.
The rapidly growing complexity of the modern world, the Internet, new methods of communication and co-operation, and an incredibly fast-growing stream of information force ever more narrow specializations to be created, ever newer questions to be asked and areas to be researched within the field of political science. They also make the old question relevant again: How do we study such a multifaceted phenomenon as ‘politics’? How can we even begin a theoretical and generalizing reflection on a set of completely new events and tendencies associated with politics today? How can we understand them as unpredictably varied as they are? For we do not even know the boundaries of politics.