This post is designed to clarify my standpoint epistemology on “blogging as a political scientist.”
First, I define a blog as a personal/public web log. I assume: (1) The owner(s) is posting information for the world audience, (2) the owner(s) determines the content to be posted, (3) if the owner is a “republican,” the blog is the owner’s efficacious and worthwhile contribution to res publica.
Blogs are defined as “web-page[s] that [are] subject to minimal or no external editing, provide online commentary, and [are] presented in reverse chronological order with hyperlinks to other online sources.” (Taken from Duck of Minerva, 2008: 16) [PDF].
Links to Academia: The blog is on the author’s C.V., but a blog has no actual affiliation with a University–unless sponsored by a University. In this way, academics promoting enlightened self-interest would create a blog to simultaneously contribute to the field informally and promote his or her professional research agenda.
In a field saturated with a need for expansion, bloggers may have an advantage–they may be recruited. This is because informal connections are very important to the field, and bloggers are likely also very active in conferences, community service, and other desired behavior. In short, good bloggers have “added value” to academia. Really, because of John Sides (i.e., from The Monkey Cage, I add value to George Washington’s program). This is because–as a student of republicanism and multiple traditions (e.g., culture research)–I wouldn’t know who John Sides is if he wasn’t a blogger.
Blog as Evidence of Research Potential: In the past two years, I’ve written about 250 posts. In a pluralistic society, it is worthwhile to see how people coming from disparate factions in society see my blog. In fact, I’m making plans to read up on Israel and the Philippines in the next year (10-20 posts–over my morning coffee), because I usually have people from those countries reading my blog.
Because I interact with people in the comments section, I have often created new responses based on that interaction–I wanted to further develop the discussion. This is the type of behavior desperately needed in Academia, mass media, and in the consulting industry (for political scientists).
Blogs enable the author to track the field like a footnote, to write political science responses in a basic way for a general audience, and to have this database of posts at his or her fingertips when someone asks a complex question. Bloggers may even create books from it–from their 30 minute morning workouts.
Really, from 250 posts, I could probably thread 40 posts into an illumination of the field of political science. I could tell you 40 important lessons from my past five years as a Ph.D. poli-sci student.
Yes, the old cliché: If I knew then what I know now… I would have read a recent graduate student’s comprehensive book about what s/he learned as a graduate student–on the field of political science.
The implication is clear. Very good bloggers will be recruited in Academia to help facilitate and maintain a professional “project” with respect to the academic’s specialty.
As a poli-sci blogger, what do I have to offer Academia?
Regardless of my blog; I would very much like to facilitate and maintain a “multiple traditions” database for American political development, comparative development, and world development–within any given political science department.
I believe that “republicans” in America are more important to the field than presently understood. I believe my research will result in meaningful connections / correlations between sub-fields in political science. These are the interactions I am looking for.
As a republican, personally, I observe “non-domination” in social contracts, so I would facilitate and maintain this project alone until someone wanted to help.
Let us not underestimate to role of Academia in the early 21st century.