published on April 4, 2020
What Are Data Good for Anyway?
A Typology of Usages of Data in Contemporary Political Theory
This article develops a typology of usages for empirical data in normative theorizing in contemporary political theory. A typology of usages is indicated, providing definitions, ‘names’ and an analysis for each usage, and points to the typical stage within political theory research for each usage. The typology is built in a casuistic methodology. It includes the following categories: (i) Spotlighting, (ii) Definition, (iii) Conversion, (iv) Institutional clarity, (v) Theoretical clarity, and (vi) Theory improvement. The typology creates a novel toolbox that can be adopted by political theorists; and it clarifies the methods and achievements of data-sensitive political theory.