7 - The professoriate of political thought in England since 1914: a tale of three chairs  pp. 134-158

The professoriate of political thought in England since 1914: a tale of three chairs

By Robert Wokler

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Introduction

The subject I mean to address here is the institutionalisation of political thought in English universities in the twentieth century, and the establishment of its various identities, in the light of the most notable professorial appointments which have been made in that field. In seeking to identify an academic discipline's scope and trajectory by way of the careers of scholars entrusted to define its purpose, I shall not at the same time attempt to provide a historiographical survey of the major writings devoted to it throughout this period, nor shall I consider the ways in which political theorists in England interpreted their civic culture or national crises. The differences between the themes pursued in this chapter and those devoted to French and German political thought may no doubt be partly characterised as differences of national style, in so far as the extra-curricular prominence of intellectuals and of their fashionable doctrines in France, and of ideological and bureaucratic regimes in Germany, lend themselves well to treatments of the circulation of texts, on the one hand, and the social dimensions of power, on the other. But I do not in these remarks wish to emphasise such contrasts, since I have no doubt that there is ample scope for textological or social scientific studies of English political thought in the twentieth century, and room too for curricular histories of French and German universities.