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Political Science Today

Political Science Today

Second Edition

August 2023 | 352 pages | CQ Press
Political Science Today by Wendy Whitman Cobb gives students a holistic view of the subfields that make up political science by dedicating one chapter to each of the topics at the core of the discipline. Unlike denser texts on the market, Political Science Today uses a field-based approach that allows students to engage with the material directly and dig into each of the discipline’s tracks while also developing critical thinking skills, discerning the differences between politics and political science, conducting and consuming research, and broadening their future career aspirations. 

The book’s innovative table of contents begins with foundational tools like theories and research methods, then builds up to subfield chapters on Comparative Politics, International Relations, American Government, Political Economy, and Public Policy and Administration.

Part I Foundations
Chapter 1: What is Political Science?
Chapter 2: Research Methods
Chapter 3: Political Theory
Part II Institutions and Behavior
Chapter 4: Constitutions, Law, and Justice
Chapter 5: Electoral and Party Systems
Chapter 6: Political Communications
Chapter 7: Social Movements and Political Change
Part III Subfields
Chapter 8: American Politics
Chapter 9: Comparative Politics
Chapter 10: International Relations
Chapter 11: Political Economy
Chapter 12: Public Policy and Public Administration


Key features


  • The Second Edition has been updated to include a new chapter on Social Movements that highlights the many ways in which groups not only have difficulty in organizing and making change, but the many ways in which these changes can be made from outside the political system.
  • Students are drawn in with new chapter updates on events like Black Lives Matter, the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict in the American political system and the January 6th insurrection. These updates highlight the many ways in which politics and political science impact their everyday lives.
  • Chapter 2's discussion on research methods has been expanded to discuss the different types of variables, expose students to the basics of coding their own data, and understanding directional relationships.
  • Chapter 3 on Political Theory includes new discussions of feminist theory and the recent discussions around critical race theory.
  • Chapter 6:  Political Communications has been revised to heavily focus on the impact of social media, misinformation, and disinformation.
  •  Chapter 9 on Comparative Politics now includes updated and expanded discussions of globalization including the changing role of the state, authoritarianism and democratic backsliding, and nationalism and ethnic conflict.


  • An innovative organization reflects the reality of the discipline, beginning with foundational tools like theories and research methods, and then building up to subfield chapters covering overviews of Comparative Politics, International Relations, American Government, Political Economy, and Public Policy/Administration. 
  • Case studies in each chapter connect the material to real life events that students can use to explore issues in more detail. New case study topics include:
    • New explorations of mass incarceration and systemic racism in Chapter 4: Constitutions, Law, and Justice;
    • COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Chapter 8: American Politics;
    • Social media’s role in Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing in Chapter 9: Comparative Politics;
    • And the changing forms of warfare in Chapter 10: International Relations.  
  • "Know a Political Scientist" features highlight prominent academics in the discipline. Care has been taken to provide students with a diverse range of theorists.
  • "Career Guidance" features offer students advice on potential career paths available throughout the subfields of political science.
  • Chapter Summaries, Discussion Questions, and For Further Reading sections at the end of every chapter encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of the topics discussed.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781071844564