Politics as an Academic Vocation

Michael Kenny

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Politics as an Academic Vocation


This article examines some of the assumptions about the development of politics as an academic discipline that shape contemporary thinking. It specifically argues that some deeply entrenched assumptions underpin commonly held ideas about the purpose and character of political studies as a modern, professionalized academic discipline. Additionally, it describes the three major intellectual props that have nourished a good deal of the hubris that contemporary practitioners feel towards the subject's earlier history — the ethos of professionalism, a critical stance towards the intellectual insularity and parochialism of the indigenous intellectual culture which is assumed to have held political science back, and the presumption that mature political analysis requires an epistemologically grounded distance from politics itself.

Keywords: politics; academic discipline; contemporary thinking; professionalism; intellectual insularity; parochialism; political science

Article.  10638 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics

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