Our Enemies and US: America's Rivalries and the Making of Political Science

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Cornell University Press, 2003 - Education - 234 pages

Ido Oren challenges American political science's definition of itself as an objective science attached to democracy. The material Oren unearthed in his research into the discipline's ideological nature may discomfit many: Woodrow Wilson's admiration of Prussia's efficient bureaucracy; the favorable review of Mein Kampf published in the American Political Science Review; the involvement of political scientists in village pacification and interrogation of Viet Cong prisoners during the Vietnam War. Oren reveals the fervently pro-German views of the founder of the discipline, John W. Burgess, who stated that the Teutonic race was politically superior to all others, and he presents evidence of a long-term, intimate relationship between the discipline and the national security agencies of the U.S. government.

Oren documents a systematic pattern of historical change in the discipline's characterization of America and America's chief enemies (Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Stalin's Russia). These characterizations, he finds, swing from pre-conflict ideological "accommodationism" to post-conflict "nationalism." Substantial traces of this historical process, in which politics and scholarship intertwine, still remain in the supposedly objective concepts and data sets of contemporary political science.

Our Enemies and US is more than an exposé, however. Oren urges academics to be more sensitive to the moral ramifications of their work and to reflect on issues fundamental to the identity of political science. The discipline, he says, must take into account the historical position of its own scholarship.


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Our enemies and US: America's rivalries and the making of political science

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This provocative book is certain to stir up controversy at the next round of political science conventions. Oren (political science, Univ. of Florida) examines the ideological origins and practices of ... Read full review


American Political Science as Ideology
Imperial Germany
Nazi Germany
Stalins Soviet Union
Cold War Politics
Toward a Reflexive Political Science

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About the author (2003)

Ido Oren is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida.

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