International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Politics that Places Make: Contextual Effects and the Future of Political Behavior Research
Jason A. McDaniel

An emerging theme of political behavior research political behavior is that individual behavior is influenced by context. However, most practitioners of contextual effects research are reluctant to engage with the theoretical foundations of their work. The concept of context, as used by political scientists, is vague and overly broad. The practice of contextual effects research has also encountered important methodological challenges, not the least of which is how to observe and measure the causal mechanisms of contextual effects. In short, contextual effects research is under theorized, and will benefit from the development of a more concrete theoretical foundation that connects context to actually existing places. I argue that conceptualizing context as connected to space and place provides a rigorous theoretical foundation that allows for analytical flexibility, as well as methodological diversity for this emerging area of political science research.

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