Science in Context 33 (2):121-144 (2020)

ArgumentThe Comparative Survey of Freedom, first published by Freedom House in 1973, is now the most widely used indicator of democracy by both academics and the U.S. government alike. However, literature examining the Survey’s origins is virtually nonexistent. In this article, I use archival records to challenge Freedom House’s retrospective account of the indicator’s creation. Rather than the outcome of a scientific methodology by multiple social scientists, the Survey was produced by a single political scientist, Raymond Gastil, according to his own hunches and impressions. How, then, did this indicator rise to such prominence? I argue that the Survey’s notoriety can be attributed to its early promotion in both political science and American foreign policy decision-making, as well as the fact that it fit the dominant scientific and political paradigms of the time.
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DOI 10.1017/s0269889720000216
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Political Order in Changing Societies.Samuel P. Huntington - 1970 - Science and Society 34 (2):251-253.
Ideology and Utopia.Karl Mannheim, Louis Wirth & Edward A. Shils - 1937 - International Journal of Ethics 48 (1):120-128.

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