Orazio Lanza


The birth of a Standing Group on ‘History and Political Science’ was only approved and formalized on 5 June, 2015 during the last SISP Executive Board meeting, chaired by Pietro Grilli di Cortona. Its founding Manifesto reminds us that, in Italy, unlike other countries, meeting and confrontation between Political Science and Historiography is still not a very widespread custom. In fact, ‘Historical Political Science’ (‘Politologia storica’ in the Manifesto) is still considered a neglected area of research. In reality, the phenomena is not new; the complicated relationship between Political Science and History has interested many other countries and the distrust between disciplines is reciprocal. As far as modern Political Science and History is concerned, the success of the complex ‘movement’ called Behavioralism (‘Behavioral Approach’) established between the 1930s and 1950s and centered in the USA, definitely had a fundamental role in this process. Some decades ago, Dahl pointed out that those mainly American scholars who were later called Behaviorists or Behavioralists shared a strong sense of dissatisfaction with the achievements of conventional political science, particularly through historical, philosophical, and the descriptive-institutional approaches, and a belief that additional methods and approaches either existed or could be developed that would help to provide political science with empirical propositions and theories of a systematic sort, tested by closer, more direct and more rigorously controlled observations of political events (Dahl 1961,766).