In Defence of Political Understanding?<sup>1</sup>

Michael Kenny

in Liberalism as Ideology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600670
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738203 | DOI:
In Defence of Political Understanding?1

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This chapter is concerned with identifying the limits and consequences of a marked trend in recent political commentary. This involves a widespread return in contemporary political science and commentary to Bernard Crick’s landmark text, In Defence of Politics (1962), in the context of current concerns about the pervasiveness of ‘anti-political’ sentiments. The derivation of insights from Crick’s text, and their application to current challenges, need to be tempered, I argue, by a fuller appreciation of the contexts and tensions that shaped his ideas. In key respects, Crick’s conceptualization of ‘the political’ has inhibited the development of an appreciation of the importance of disagreement and the foundational role of ideas within political life. I turn finally to consider several arguments that Michael Freeden has developed regarding the nature of political thinking, in order to elucidate several key interpretative challenges for contemporary political analysis.

Keywords: politics; anti-politics; Bernard Crick; the political

Chapter.  8768 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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