Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Behavioralism was an intellectual movement that sought to make American political science more systematic and scientific. It began in the early 1950s as the movement of an insurgent minority wielding its vision of a transformed discipline as a manifesto for change. By the mid-1960s, the movement had won wide recognition and influence, as shown in the election of behavioralists David Truman, Gabriel Almond, Robert Dahl, and David Easton as presidents of the American Political Science Association. The movement's success helped, in turn, to crystallize critics, largely centered in the subfield of political theory, who turned the vision of a transformed discipline against behavioralism, depicting themselves as an embattled resistance holding out against a purportedly hegemonic wave of scientism. In surveying behavioralism, it helps to distinguish: (a) the topics the movement focused on, (b) the kind of theory it advocated, and (c) the techniques it promoted. With regard to topics, many ...