Cui Bono Scientia Politica? A Multi-Dimensional Concept of Relevance and the Case of Political Science in Austria

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Martin Senn
Franz Eder




Political scientists in many parts of the world have resumed the debate about the discipline’s societal relevance in view of manifold political and social challenges. Unlike their international peers, political scientists in Austria have so far not undertaken a thorough reflection of the relevance that their work has beyond academia. Our special issue seeks to fill this gap in the self-reflection of political science in Austria by opening a debate about the conceptual, empirical, normative, and praxeological dimensions of (societal) relevance. This introductory article prepares the ground for the subsequent contributions to the special issue by giving a brief overview of the current debate about the relevance of political science, formulating the research questions that guide the special issue, and introducing a multi-dimensional concept of societal relevance. Building on the work of Van Aalsvoort (2004) and Stuckey et al. (2013), the article distinguishes between civic, professional, and political relevance of political science and discusses the discipline’s historical development in Austria against the background of this conceptual framework.



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