Evolution in political science: a reply to Kerr
Peter Kerr (Kerr 2002) recently argued in this journal that evolutionary theories could be of great benefit to political scientists' investigations of change. He is not successful in establishing a case for evolutionary theory in political science due to the misconception that evolutionary theory can have explanatory power without being functionalist. Two options for the use of evolution in political science are set out: firstly, leave the concept at the level of metaphor which might add richness to narratives of political change; or secondly, accept functionalism and construct political science theories along the lines beginning to develop in evolutionary economics. The conclusion is the need for a dynamic approach whilst avoiding functionalism and that political science at this stage should remain agnostic and critical about when and where particular dynamic mechanisms may operate.
British Journal of Politics and International Relations