The Oakeshottians

Paul Kelly

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780198614128 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 The Oakeshottians

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This article argues that political theorist Michael Oakeshott undoubtedly affected the British study of politics. It first presents a brief overview of Oakeshott's life and career, followed by an outline of the three main components of his philosophy of history and politics. It then turns from the abstraction and scepticism of his peculiar variant of philosophical idealism to his inaugural lecture at LSE on ‘Political Education’. The article also considers the areas of the study of politics in which the Oakeshottian impact has been the greatest. Moreover, the political ideas and ideology, the study of government and public administration, the study of nationalism, and more controversially his impact on new fields such as the political theory of multiculturalism are explored. The article finally gives an assessment of the Oakeshottian legacy.

Keywords: Michael Oakeshott; British politics; philosophical idealism; abstraction; scepticism; Oakeshottian legacy; multiculturalism; nationalism; public administration

Article.  7880 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; Political Theory

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