Political Science and Darcy Lewis
Ok, so as a Political Scientist, I’ve got a few qualms about how my field is represented in the fandoms. A lot of people aren’t quite sure what we do, and that’s understandable because we do a lot!
Before we start, I’ll go over my qualifications to discuss this. I graduated from Florida State University with duel degrees in International Affairs (comparative politics concentration) and Political Science (public administration concentration). My Master’s degree is in International Affairs (public admin/terrorism concentration), conferred by FSU. Right now I’m working on a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. So, as you can see, I’ve got a ton of experience with Political Science.
So what is Poli Sci? Basically, it’s the study of the state, nation, government, and politics/policies of government. Vague? That’s because it’s broken down into 5 categories: political theory, comparative politics, public administration, international relations, and public law (you can argue for political methodology to be included). There are a ton of different methodological approaches (realism, liberalism, positivism/post-positivism, etc.) that I won’t bore you by going into.
Universities differ in the requirements for their students to be awarded the degree. In general, however, you can almost guarantee that a political scientist has had exposure to the great political writers (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, etc.) that the Founding Fathers drew heavily from. We take a lot of specialized classes depending on what subsection you want to go into. For instance, I took American Legislative Systems, the American Presidency, and Race/Ethnicity and Politics because I wanted to look at US politics (my IA classes were much more interesting). Given that Darcy understands Farsi (see: Thor 2 junior novel), I would think that she’s leaned more towards the International Relations side of poli sci, which means she’s taken a language to the intermediate level.
A lot of other disciplines mock poli sci because we “aren’t an actual science.” This may be seen as a personal rant, but there’s a good reason we don’t want to be. The decline of positivism is proof of this. We recognize that there isn’t one universal truth to be found, like the scientific method attempts to do. As J.W. Willis said, “each study is part of a broader effort to get closer and closer to the truth through a series of research studies.” So I can guarantee you, Jane’s probably made some off hand comment about how poli sci isn’t a real science that just made Darcy’s blood boil. Especially given that she went to a school in Virginia. Let me tell you, Virginia schools usually get a leg up on studying politics because its proximity to DC. If you want to have a basic idea of what Darcy may have taken, look at U Virginia, George Mason, Virginia Tech, or another other school in the state to see what’s required of their students.
What are the job prospects for a political scientist? Well, as my personal qualifications show, graduate school is a big one. But as an undergrad, a majority of my classmates said they were going to use their degree to get into law school. Others decided that they were going to go into government work (be it local, state, federal, or those lucky few doing work at the United Nations). A sad joke is that retail is the #1 field political scientists go into.
With regards to Darcy, I’m just hoping that this post gives you a bit more information when writing about her. She’s very analytical and has a sharp mind, and shouldn’t be written as absent-minded or a slacker because of what she studies. Political Scientists are some of the smartest people I know and we have some kick ass conversations while drinking (in all seriousness, my friends and I discuss the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, race relations, and the militarization of American politics while drunk).
Stepping off my soap box now.