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The Politics of Political Science


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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Politics of Political Science in Latin America

Outline of the Book

Works Cited

Notes Chapter 1 - Power, Knowledge, and Complex Relationality: Theory and Method

PPS' Strategy for (Disciplinary) Self-Reflection


Works Cited

Notes Chapter 2 - When Political Science was Authoritarian: Chile 1979-1989 (COLD)

Institutionalized Transition: Towards a Protected Democracy

RCP, or the Meaning of Silence

A Re-Founding Trilogy: Protected Democracy, Market Economy, and Private Property

Saving the West: Culture, Christianity, and Internationalization

Academic Training, Law, Meaning(s), Terror

Conclusion: The Banality of Institutionalization

Works Cited


Chapter 3 - From Revolution to Transition: The Making of a Conformist Academia in Uruguay and Beyond (?) (WARM)

Framing the Uruguayan Case: Historical Overview or the Politics of Timing

Dictatorship, Transition, and Trauma

Rethinking Epic Narrative(s): Private Research Centers During the Dictatorship - Resistance...Through Neo-liberalization?

The Limits of Pluralism: Identity-Building, Epistemological Policing, and the Shadows of Marx

Appropriating Carlos Real de Azua: Teleology and Destiny

Narrative Power(s): Storytelling and the Delineation of the Disciplinary Self

Objectivity and Romance: Uruguayan Political Science and Liberal Democracy

The Limits of Conformism? State-Centrism and the Containment of Market Utopias (with a Note on Secularism)

Concluding Remarks: Complex Relationality and Liberal Unthinking

Works Cited


Chapter 4 - Doing Research, from Fortress to Intimacy (HOT)

Looking for a Perspective

Whose Dictatorship(s)?

PS' Positivist Masculinity and Straightness

Love for PS and its Complicated Temporalities and Geographies

PS for PS

Horror in the Body of Thought: Undoing Harm

Works Cited


Chapter 5 - The Temperatures of Thinking and Politics: An Assemblage of Critical Theories and a Problematizing Re-Inscription of Political Science

Liberal Unthinking and the Epistemological Desaparecidos of 1990s Latin America

Chile and Uruguay: Traces of a Comparative Politics of Political Science

Complex Relationality at Work: A Radical Alternative to Mainstream Tales

Whose Theory? Sustaining Thinking, Protecting (Self-) Reflection

Works Cited


About the Author

Paulo Ravecca is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay, where he researches epistemology and the history of political science; critical theories (queer, neo-marxist, postcolonial, and poststructural approaches); political economy and international relations; and gender and sexuality. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Narrative Politics and Critica Contemporanea. Revista de Teoria Politica. He holds a PhD in Political Science from York University.


"I confess, I've given too little thought to how each countries' politics have shaped what we think of - and what we DO in - political science. By taking me on this fascinating journey into the politics of political science of Chile and Uruguay, Paulo Ravecca has made me acutely aware of the distinctive politics of our field in every country - including my own!"- Cynthia Enloe, author of The Big Push: Exploring and Challenging the Persistencies of Patriarchy

"The study of power is itself a political enterprise. But rarely have the tools of critical theory been deployed on political science itself. This is what makes The Politics of Political Science such a bold, timely and important work. Paulo Ravecca lays bare the power relations at work in the very formation of political science in the Americas. And he is daring enough to offer a critical ethnography of his own formation as a political scientist. The result is a stunningly original achievement. Not only does Ravecca tell us something profoundly new about one of the most established disciplines in the social sciences - he also lets us see power relations themselves in ways we never before saw them. This is a truly important book."- David McNally, Cullen Distinguished Professor of History, University of Houston

"Very moving and a masterpiece."- Terrell Carver, Professor of Political Theory, University of Bristol

"After concluding the inspiring work by Paulo Ravecca, the opening of Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon comes to mind: "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." The farce reproduced by history remains an inverted, grotesque and ridiculous tragedy, but that does not make it less painful. As I write these notes, the Minister of Education from Bolsonaro's government in Brazil declares that his aim is to disinvest in the country' public universities and their areas of Philosophy and Sociology, a first step towards the demolition of the critical thinking and the fundamental freedoms necessary for a democracy to take place. Ravecca has shown that there is no one single path to the destruction of our civic coexistence and that these deviations leave scars on bodies and collective imaginaries. It is our task to expose the farces, shatter the concave mirrors that reproduce monstrosities, and unmask the tragedy of today so the ghosts of the past do not come back to life again." - David Cardozo Santiago, Las Torres de Lucca, International Journal of Political Philosophy "A book that, from its rigor and canonic knowledge, opens pathways that become inexorable for our times."- Manuel Alcantara Saez, Universidad de Salamanca "... to learn from this book's enormous value one does not need to agree with all of the authors approaches or conclusions. For many reasons, Paulo Ravecca's work should be welcomed. It reveals a powerful, original and courageous researcher, who brings talents and perspectives that will undoubtedly make great contributions to the disciplines of the social sciences in this continent and the world."- Gerardo Caetano, University of the Republic, Uruguay "Because of Ravecca's capacity to inhabit opposing methodological and epistemological registers, while also putting them into relationships in unexpected and creative ways, this book constitutes a treasure, particularly valuable for those who manage to find it and thus themselves, or get lost productively within it." - Diego Rossello, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez, Chile "On various occasions, I projected what I was reading onto an imaginary classroom; in part because spaces of teaching are present throughout the pages of this book, which explore the potential of teaching for critique and for the construction of alternatives. As Ravecca states, the classroom is where research comes to life and in turn can stage the future of the discipline. Perhaps for that reason the image was recurring: because this is a book that looks upon the future. And in doing so, gives a new language to Political Science to re-think the political and thus to reflect upon itself." - Marcela Schenck, Civitas, Revista de Ciencias Sociais

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