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Letter from the Editor

Politics dominates the headlines, and understanding its dynamics is essential to informed citizenship. The study of politics examines individuals and governments, and their interactions whether they are local, national, or international. Researchers of politics study a wide range of topics, including the bases of authority, liberty, and justice and variations in political processes, political systems, and political behavior.

The study of politics is highly pluralistic in topics, approaches, methodologies. Many political scientists investigate how beliefs and interests are formed and expressed, whether they result in cooperation or conflict, how various incentives and institutions mediate political activities, and the generation and implications of governmental policies. These and other issues are examined using humanistic and scientific perspectives and tools—ranging from normative inquiry to formal modeling, statistical analysis, experimental designs, and historical investigation. Students of politics shed light on many of the most pressing issues of the day, including environmental challenges, the benefits and costs of using force, the dynamics of electoral campaigns, and normative questions in politics.

To the extent that the field is marked by islands of knowledge while innovative research draws on cross-fertilization across approaches or topics, the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics facilitates connections, focuses on mechanisms, provides a sense of context and history, and helps identify research questions that can inform new research, whether in classic areas or emerging ones. Articles examine the evolution and/or structure of research programs and their dynamics, the questions, tensions, and puzzles that drive research, and the interaction between theory, method, and empirics. Because the focus is on the needs of researchers deepening their understanding of cognate areas, professors developing a reading list or preparing for a lecture, and students beginning research on their own, they will find the ORE of Politics as the reliable source of information and insight.

It will be so because there is an excellent international board of senior and advisory editors; because it features authoritatively written, peer-reviewed articles by leading experts; and because by being “born digital,” over time the ORE will continue to grow while reflecting the discipline, from core concepts and approaches to recent research trends, dynamically evolving to reflect the diversity and dynamism in the study of politics.

William R. Thompson, Editor in Chief
Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Donald A. Rogers Professor of Political Science Emeritus
Indiana University, Bloomington