Political Science, Sociology, Human Geography, Anthropology

[currently these pages are just lists of links related to the old subtitle “Social science and its critics”. I thought some of these controversies might be interesting to some readers]




“Political Scientists Are Lousy Forecasters.” New York Times. Jacqueline Stevens June 23, 2012. Link


A list of rebuttals to Stevens’ argument by John Sides at themonkeycage.org can be found here.


Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? Philip E. Tetlock. Princeton University Press, 2006.


(A short article by Tetlock on the same research is How Accurate Are Your Pet Pundits?)


Why International Relations has Failed as an Intellectual Project and What to do About it. Millennium – Journal of International Studies. January 2001 30: 19-39. Barry Buzan and Richard Little. Abstract


Egypt and the political science crisis.  Marta Dassù  8/2/2011 Link

 “The recent events in Egypt remind us how hard it is to predict crucial events, and even to fully understand them as they unfold before our very eyes. This is an interesting test case for the social sciences in a very complex world. After Marta Dassù opened the debate with the following article, which appeared in La Stampa in Italian on January 31, 2011 [PDF], Aspenia online continues the discussion on why political scientists and analysts have such a hard time predicting major change.”




Restless Genes January 2012 National Geographic (relates to some of my work here, the parts about migrations and culture, as well as colonialism and development)


2012, Geographic information science: tribe, badge and sub-discipline

“Academic War over the Field of Geography”: The Elimination of Geography at Harvard, 1947-1951. Neil Smith. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 77, No. 2 (Jun., 1987), pp. 155-172.

Markusen, Anne. 1999. Fuzzy Concepts, Scanty Evidence, Policy Distance: The Case for Rigour and Policy Relevance in Critical Regional Studies. Regional Studies 33: 869-884. Link

(PDF download. My browser says this is a dangerous file for some reason, but it is just a PDF from the journal Regional Studies.)


Hamnett, Chris. 2003. Contemporary Human Geography: Fiddling While Rome Burns? Geoforum 34: 1-3.





Goertzel, Ted. 2002. ‘Econometric Modeling as Junk Science’ unpublished manuscript, Department of Sociology, RutgersUniversity. (A simplified version without graphs is published as ‘Myths of Murder and Multiple Regression’, The Skeptical Inquirer. 26(1): 19-23; the graphs, however, are important.)



Goertzel, Ted and Benjamin Goertzel, 2008. Capital Punishment and Homicide Rates: Sociological Realities and Econometric Distortions. Critical Sociology 34(2). 239-254.



Towards a Respectable, Reflexive, Scientific Sociology: A Note on the Reformation Required. Joseph M. Bryant. Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie, 17: 3. (Summer, 1992), pp. 322-331. Jstor/1st page


‘Use of the word “crisis” to characterize the state of our discipline has been overworked almost to the point of cliche, but certainly the vital signs in the last few years are not promising.  (p. 322)


Gouldner, A.W. 1971. The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology.New York: Equinox Books.


Sigurd Skirbekk. “‘Crisis of sociology’ – and consequences for an adequate understanding of contemporary cultural conflicts.” Journal of Sociology. (Sosiologisk Tidsskrift) Universitetsforlaget, Oslo. No. 3, 2008, pp. 281-291. Link    

“I am accusing a broad range of sociologists for not living up to their professional program.”


Sociology has identity crisis, 26 March 2004, Alison Utley, Times Higher Education Supplement. Link





Franco Archibugi. Planning Theory: Reconstruction or Requiem for Planning? European Planning Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, April 2004. Link


“In spite of the geometric progression in the quantity of scholars who have devoted themselves – more or less totally – to theoretical reflections about planning, both as a practice and as an academic discipline (to the point of founding a new strand or discipline of study, Planning Theory), I think that a diffuse, creeping uneasiness has pervaded all the participants of this discipline.”


Social Sciences as Sorcery. Stanislav Andreski. 1972. Amazon 


Sokal, Alan D. and Bricmont, Jean. Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science. Picador USA: New York, 1998. Amazon


Guardian article: Social scientists explain many things – but can they explain themselves?

“Impenetrable writing layered with jargon and a near-xenophobic attitude towards lay people has given us all the impression that academics in the arts, humanities and social sciences are utterly irrelevant…


Edward C. Banfield. “Policy Science as Metaphysical Madness ”


“Unintelligible Management Research and Academic Prestige” . Interfaces, Vol. 10, No. 2, April 1980, p. 80-86. J. Scott Armstrong  Link


Naftulin, Donald H., Ware, J.E., Jr., and Donnelly, F. A., 1973, “The Doctor Fox Lecture: A Paradigm of Educational Seduction,” Journal of Medical Education 48, pp. 630-635. Link



What’s the Matter With Cultural Studies? The popular discipline has lost its bearings. The Chronicle Review. September 14, 2009. Michael Bérubé. Link

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