Political theory in social progress indices: the mutual benefits of theory and practice

Shiri Cohen Kaminitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


Recently political theorists have voiced a desire for political theory to be more involved in and relevant to political science and practice. Turning to a concrete instance, the case of social progress indices, we observe that political theory is already to some extent involved in both. Political theories in some instances inspire well-reasoned and systematic construction of measurements, although the conception of social progress in an index is not always overt. At the same time, social progress indicators and conceptions provide a substantial context to aid the self-reflections of political theorists. This note articulates the bidirectional actual and potential processes at play, with an emphasis on the cases when the conceptions represented by measurement are value-laden and contested. It further differentiates manners by which indicators may contribute to the internal and external assessments of concepts and theories. The study highlights the significance of recognizing and enhancing these multi-level and bidirectional processes. Such improvements would be achieved when political theory, political science and practical consideration come together.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2284759
JournalPolitical Research Exchange
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • concepts; measurements
  • indicators
  • Political Theory
  • social progress


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