The Duck of Minerva

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Stuff Political Scientists Like to Obsess About

June 30, 2011

 Not to step on Brian‘s territory, but I just wanted to cross-post here something that I wanted to propose.
One of the recurring themes on my blog and at the Poli Sci Job Rumor site is that of rankings.  See here, here, and here for a taste of my fixation.

Anyhow, I am always reminded of a simple fact when I see any political science ranking of journals, presses, departments whatever: that whenever a ranking is suggested or revised, it is always suggested by someone who benefits from the new ranking.  Nobody ever proposes a ranking that puts their department lower.  So, Godwin’s Law–that the longer any internet discussion, the probability of Hitler/Nazis/Holocaust being mentioned approaches one–has inspired me to propose a new law.

What would we name the following law: Any ranking of any aspect of the academic enterprise will produce revised rankings that improve the standing of the folks who produce the revised rankings?  In honor of a semi-anonymous person who published amusing pieces at PS (see here for an example if you can–gated),* so how about Wuffle’s Law?
* A scholar.google search of Wuffle will produce many more contributions than I had remembered.
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Steve Saideman is Professor and the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He has written The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict; For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres); and NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald), and elsewhere on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, and civil-military relations.