Middle East Studies

The Two State Solution as a Degenerative Research Program

Thursday, October 30, 2014

12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Speaker:  Ian Lustick, Bess W. Heyman Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

In politics as in science, sets of presumptions--hegemonic beliefs--guide activity to produce effective work. We call them projects in politics and research programs in science. It is hard for researchers to learn that one's program itself needs to be changed because there can be no clear rules within a program governed by certain presumptions, for identifying when commitments to those beliefs are themselves the obstacle to effective work. That is the meaning of presumption and hegemony. But good Lakatoshians can tell when a research program is headed south. We can use those symptoms to evaluate the behavior of those who are struggling to continue political activity within the two state solution framework regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.   That analysis can help guide choices and navigate the difficult period during which, as Gramsci put it, "the old is dying and the new cannot be born."

Middle East Colloquium