Princeton and the Behavioral Revolution
What is happening at Princeton University? My sense of this is not exactly systematic, but it is real–Princeton’s political science faculty seems not to have become capture to many of the methodological features of the behavioral revolution that have captured many of the political science departments of other universities, at least when it comes to the study of law and courts.
Consider, first, that Princeton’s political science department is called its Department of Politics rather than its Department of Political Science. At the time when the behavioral revolution (or more exactly, the attitudinal revolution) was initially sweeping political science studies of courts, Princeton had the interdisciplinary but not really deeply attitudinal Walter Murphy (who in many ways followed in the steps of Edward Corwin). Now, Princeton has had on its politics faculty in recent times Gary Bass, Christopher Eisgruber, Kenneth Kersch, Andrew Moravcsik, Kim Lane Scheppele, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Keith Whittington, and Jennifer Widner–all writing about courts and law, one way or another.
All first-rate scholars, but none really behavioralists. Compare this to the approach to courts and law of other elite political science departments, where scholars either ignore courts altogether (if Cindy Skach does not count, then Harvard has not really had a judicial politics scholar since Martin Shapiro left) or study courts as behavioralists. And even departments that have judicial politics scholars do not have as many as Princeton has now and has had in the past.
I cannot admit to as much knowledge about Princeton’s other departments, so I wonder if this is true of their other departments, and what explains these (notable) dissents from behavioralism in their political science department and potentially other departments…..