Apartheid of Thought

The Power Dynamics of Knowledge Production in Political Thought

in Theoria
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  • 1 New York University camillaboisen@gmail.com
  • 2 Providence College mmurra20@providence.edu
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In engaging with Lawrence Hamilton’s Freedom Is Power and its position in the lexicon of academic production from the Global South, this paper explores how Hamilton’s claim about institutions utilising idealised concepts that can have counterproductive social effects is also broadly observable in knowledge production itself. This paper draws in broad and brief terms how representation of ideas has been an issue at the heart of political thought historically before discussing how ideas from the South and other under-represented areas now serve to counter not just a hegemony of power but of ideas themselves. This is a necessary extension of the theory to consider, in order to have its desired effect as ideas are perquisites to actions. The paper also challenges the reader with their role in idealising the production of knowledge and the underlying social pressures and political power relations that shape the ideas that motivate ‘real’ political structures and institutions.

Contributor Notes

Camilla Boisen teaches at New York University in Abu Dhabi. She formerly held a postdoctoral fellowship in political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her published work has appeared in Politikon, Journal of International Political Theory, History of European Ideas and Science et Esprit. She and Matthew C. Murray have co-edited Distributive Justice Debates in Political and Social Thought: Perspectives on Finding a Fair Share (Routledge, 2016).

Matthew C. Murray is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Providence College, Rhode Island. He is also the Senior Project Advisor for Growthpolicy.org project on Shared Sustainable Economic Prosperity at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard University. He edited Basic Income Worldwide: Horizons of Reform with Carole Pateman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and Distributive Justice Debates in Political and Social Thought: Perspectives on Finding a Fair Share with Camilla Boisen (Routledge, 2016).


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