The Failure of Political Science

  • Anthony Butler


We saw in chapter 6 how different schools of professional political analysis propagated distinctive but mutually reinforcing falsehoods. Unique features of South African society created by apartheid sustained these misconceptions. The turbulence within the South African academy, in particular, often led visiting specialists astray. ‘Liberal’ host institutions, undergoing the ordeal of full racial integration, were the sites of much protest and even more revolutionary rhetoric. South African social scientists have been extremely self-conscious about their intellectual affiliations, with marxist credentials and a belief in the interdependence of capitalism and apartheid prominent in their canon. Conservative academics’ scaremongering reinforced radicals’ trumpeting of the revolution to come. For visitors, the collapse of the apartheid state seemed to promise (or threaten) revolutionary upheaval. For such outsiders, the marxist analysis of one academic was as bemusing as another’s conservative pseudo-science — but each pointed to a frightening future.


Electoral Politics National Party Corporate Operating Environment Constitutional Reform Political Tolerance 
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Copyright information

© Anthony Butler 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Butler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NottinghamUK

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