What is the color of social capital? Bringing race in political science

Date of Completion

January 2006


Black Studies|Political Science, General|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies




This dissertation will examine two fundamental questions: (1) why does political science lag behind in accommodating minority studies; and (2) why is it necessary to accommodate race studies in political science? This study will argue that epistemological racism in the discipline of political science rather than institutional racism long prevented race studies from surfacing. Yet, in the greater scheme of power relations in the discipline, there is no single culprit who bears the entire responsibility for the exclusion. Once born, the discipline began a life of its own and grew into a leviathan willing to exercise its power to control both the discipline itself and its members with punishment and rewards. We are all disciplined by the discipline to become more disciplined scholars. This study will also claim that bringing in de-centered perspective from African Americans has utilities, one of which is the possibility of finding answers to broader unresolved questions in political science. Social capital/civil society studies will be used as a test case to press forward on the "multicultural utility" thesis so as to call for a further inclusion of "others" perspectives that are still underrepresented in mainstream political science today.^