Rutherford House , Santa Cruz, California 95064

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Evaluating the Social Sciences: The Question of Progress

Professor Munck will discuss the core ideas of a book he has just completed on the evolution of knowledge in the social sciences. Have advances in knowledge about the social world been made? Inasmuch as progress is made, does it come  through conceptual-theoretical research or empirical research? These questions will be answered based on a comprehensive study of research on democracy since the late eighteenth century. The implications for current practices in the social sciences will be spelled out.


Gerardo L. Munck is Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California (USC). His recent books include El pensamiento sociopolítico latinoamericano: Ciencias sociales e intelectuales en tiempos cambiantes (with Martín Tanaka, 2023); Latin American Politics and Society: A Comparative and Historical Analysis (with Juan Pablo Luna; Cambridge, 2022); Critical Junctures and Historical Legacies: Insights and Methods for Comparative Social Science (edited with David Collier; Rowman & Littlefield, 2022); and A Middle-Quality Institutional Trap: Democracy and State Capacity in Latin America (with Sebastián Mazzuca, Cambridge, 2020). His research focuses on democracy and democratization, Latin America, methodology, and the science of the social sciences.

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