IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Perestroikan Straw Man Answers Back: David Laitin and Phronetic Political Science


  • Bent Flyvbjerg

    (Aalborg University,


This article addresses three main issues. First, it argues that David Laitin, in a misguided critique of Bent Flyvbjerg’s book Making Social Science Matter for being a surrogate manifesto for Perestroika, misrepresents the book in the extreme. Second, the article argues that Laitin’s claim that political science may become normal, predictive science in the natural science sense is unfounded; the claim is a dead end that perestroikans try to get beyond. Finally, the article proposes that political scientists substitute phronesis for episteme and thereby avoid the trap of emulating natural science. By doing so, political scientists may arrive at social science that is strong where natural science is weak: in the reflexive analysis and discussion of values and interests aimed at praxis, which is the prerequisite for an enlightened political, economic, and cultural development in any society.

Suggested Citation

  • Bent Flyvbjerg, 2004. "A Perestroikan Straw Man Answers Back: David Laitin and Phronetic Political Science," Politics & Society, , vol. 32(3), pages 389-416, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:polsoc:v:32:y:2004:i:3:p:389-416

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:polsoc:v:32:y:2004:i:3:p:389-416. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.