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Liberalism as IdeologyEssays in Honour of Michael Freeden$
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Ben Jackson and Marc Stears

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600670

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600670.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 April 2021

In Defence of Political Understanding? 1

In Defence of Political Understanding? 1

(p.221) 11 In Defence of Political Understanding?1
Liberalism as Ideology

Michael Kenny

Oxford University Press

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

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