The Politics of Political Science: Re-Writing Latin American Experiences, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Politics of Political Science

Re-Writing Latin American Experiences, 1st Edition

By Paulo Ravecca


276 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780815363088
pub: 2019-01-24
SAVE ~$6.74
Hardback: 9780815363071
pub: 2019-06-02
SAVE ~$22.50
Available for pre-order
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351110556
pub: 2019-02-11
from $22.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


In this thought-provoking book, Paulo Ravecca presents a series of interlocking studies on the politics of political science in the Americas.

Focusing mainly on the cases of Chile and Uruguay, Ravecca employs different strands of critical theory to challenge the mainstream narrative about the development of the discipline in the region, emphasizing its ideological aspects and demonstrating how the discipline itself has been shaped by power relations. Ravecca metaphorically charts the (non-linear) transit from “cold” to “warm” to “hot” intellectual temperatures to illustrate his—alternative—narrative. Beginning with a detailed quantitative study of three regional academic journals, moving to the analysis of the role of subjectivity (and political trauma) in academia and its discourse in relation to the dictatorships in Chile and Uruguay, and arriving finally at an intimate meditation on the experience of being a queer scholar in the Latin American academy of the 21st century, Ravecca guides his readers through differing explorations, languages, and methods.

The Politics of Political Science: Re-Writing Latin American Experiences offers an essential reflection on both the relationship between knowledges and politics and the political and ethical role of the scholar today, demonstrating how the study of the politics of knowledge deepens our understanding of the politics of our times.


"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

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Politics of Political Science in Latin America

Outline of the Book

Works Cited


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

PPS’ Strategy for (Disciplinary) Self-Reflection


Works Cited


Chapter 2When 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 3From 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 Azúa: 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 4Doing 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 5The 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

Currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Learn more about Paulo Ravecca >>

Paulo Ravecca is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Universidad de la República, 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 Crítica Contemporánea. Revista de Teoría Política. He holds a PhD in Political Science from York University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Caribbean & Latin American