chapter  6
15 Pages

Anarchism and political science

History and anti-science in radical thought
WithRuth Kinna

This chapter considers some reasons why, juxtaposing conceptions of political science adopted in American and British academia in the course of the twentieth century and anarchist critiques of science. It argues that debates about the relationship between the analysis of politics and the legitimation of established power relations usefully contextualize anarchist engagements with political science and that differences about the scope, application, and character of scientific method complicate anarchist engagement. The chapter examines some fruitful examples of anarchist political science, drawing on the work of C. Wright Mills and Peter Kropotkin. The narrow focus of political science on operation of government in the modern state is apparent in the modern academic discipline. The trends towards a narrower conception of political science and scientific method accelerated in the early 1950s and it was particularly marked in American scholarship. Herber Newton’s statement that anarchism was political science and religion might be read as a defiant affirmation of the potential for social change.