Diagnosis versus Ideological Diversity
by Phillip W. Gray, Texas A&M University at Qatar
Phillip W. Gray’s contribution argues that a lack of ideological diversity within political science can be detrimental to research within the discipline. Providing recent examples of research issues within political science, Gray notes how lack of ideological diversity creates “blind spots” that can allow such instances to proceed through disciplinary peer review channels. These ideological “blind spots” reflect a larger problem in political science that goes beyond publications. The lack of ideological diversity creates a strong tendency towards “diagnosis” of conservative and right-leaning views, in contrast to investigations seeking to understand progressive or left-leaning views. Rather than viewing conservative ideologies as an alternate way of perceiving the political world, conservatism is studied as the worldview of the ignorant, bigoted, or as inherently dysfunctional. Conservative students and academics realize quickly that silence is a wiser choice than making their views known, as the discipline “diagnoses” the views of conservatives/rightists as reflections not of ideas, but rather power and prejudice. The lack of ideological diversity creates a self-perpetuating system: conservatives avoid the political science discipline as a career, while those within political science increasingly rely upon a caricatured view of conservative “patients” in need of “treatment” rather than fellow political actors.