Engaged Pluralism: The Importance of Commitment

Engaged Pluralism: The Importance of Commitment

By Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Ohio State University

Engaged pluralism entails active interaction, debate, and learning from each other. I argue that individuals need to undertake the challenges arising from engaged pluralism to ensure a healthy, vibrant disciplinary future, and for a democracy that thrives. I consciously extend the term “engagement” to apply not only to understanding across sub-disciplines and different grounds of knowledge, but also to addressing research to the needs of society. There are golden opportunities centered around the benefits of a more open, rigorous, and contentious science that can be maximized through focused engagement around methodologies and methods. In short, two primary themes encapsulate my views on where our discipline should be heading. First, the pursuit of engaged methodological pluralism in our scholarship is critical. Second, supporting democratic principles and civic engagement, which is at the core of the American Political Science Association and has continued, in ebbs and flows, throughout the discipline’s life, is necessary.