‘A self-fulfilling dystopia’, Society 48 (4): 312-315.

To the extent that reductionism has never made for good social science, I do not think that it is enough to suggest, as Richard Sennett (2011) has recently argued, that the story around the London School of Economics’ reception of a donation from the Gaddafi family ‘is all about cash’. In society, things are never so simple and it is in the very call of our disciplines that we ought to actively search for what else may have actually been going on. I should then like to use this short intervention as an opportunity to reflect on some broader normative and epistemological questions that I think are important to understand how recent engagements between academic institutions, social scientists, and regimes with dubious normative credentials could have been found acceptable in the first instance.


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