Event Date: 3 June 2015
Paul Hirst Seminar Room
Birkbeck Department of Politics
10 Gower St
London WC1E 6DP
The Birkbeck Department of Politics presents:
Professor Andrew Gamble (Cambridge) – Oakeshott and Totalitarianism
In this lecture on British Political Thought, Professor Andrew Gamble will consider the work of Michael Oakeshott. Oakeshott does not engage directly with the concept of totalitarianism in his writings, but he nevertheless developed in them an account of the nature of the western liberal tradition which provides a powerful implicit critique of totalitarianism. He defended liberalism as a more comprehensive expression of Western civilisation than any of its rivals, particularly fascism and communism, while noting its shortcomings and the complexity of the relationship between faith and scepticism as two separate but linked attitudes to the power of the modern state. The interplay between them reveals the deep roots of ‘totalitarian’ thinking in Western thought.
Andrew Gamble is Professor Emeritus of Politics and Fellow Emeritus of Queens’ College, University of Cambridge. He is a joint editor of New Political Economy and The Political Quarterly, and a Fellow of the British Academy and the Academy of Social Sciences. He is the author of numerous books on political economy, political ideologies, and British politics, including The Conservative Nation (1974), Britain in Decline: Economic Policy, Political Strategy, and the British State (1981), The Free Economy and the Strong State: The Politics of Thatcherism (1988) and Between Europe and America: The Future of British Politics (2003).
Introduction by Dr Jason Edwards (Birkbeck):