Posted on May 7, 2011
My interests in politics emerged in junior high school, as my classmates and I worked on political campaigns as part of class projects. I was hooked, not so much by particular candidates or party platforms, but how political messages and actions could and did shape behaviors and beliefs.
My approach to political science is both historical and structural or institutional. Context shapes institutional development—rules of the game, laws, norms, and institutions emerge as a product of particular settings, historical moments, and relevant or powerful actors. These, then, shape current actions, which in turn lead to the development of new rules and structures. The fun is in figuring out who has the power, at any particular time, to define the rules and to structure behaviors within organizations, and in analyzing how individual choices, behaviors and decisions are affected by the current institutions and structures within which we live and work.