Stanislav Andreski

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Stanisław Andrzejewski (or Stanislav Andreski) (8 May 1919, Częstochowa – 26 September 2007, Reading, Berkshire) was a Polish-British sociologist known best for his scathing indictment of the "pretentious nebulous verbosity" endemic in the modern social sciences in his classic work Social Sciences as Sorcery (1972).

Andrzejewski was a Polish Army officer. During the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 he was taken prisoner by the Soviets. He escaped to Britain and fought against the Germans on the Western Front in Władysław Anders Polish II Corps.

At the University of Reading, United Kingdom, he was a professor of sociology, a department he founded in 1965.[citation needed]

Selected quotes[edit]

  • (After detailing how many international loans to African countries do not finance any socially useful production) "... It may, of course, be said that the use to which a loan is put is the responsibility of the borrower, but it is difficult to absolve the creditors from guilt when they know that the funds will be squandered by the kleptocrats, whereas the money will be extorted from their unfortunate subjects. Such investments amount to collusion in oppression and exploitation."
  • "The essence of kleptocracy is that the functioning of the organs of authority is determined by the mechanisms of supply and demand rather than the laws and regulations; and a kleptocratic state constitutes a curiously generalized model of laissez-faire economics even if its economy is nominally socialist. However, like pure democracy or pure autocracy, pure kleptocracy is an ‘ideal type’ which has never materialized, because everywhere there are certain bonds of solidarity which interfere with the workings of supply and demand…. Normally kleptocracy is not ‘pure’ but intertwined with coercion by armed force; so that strategy and tactics as well as price theory are needed to explain the functioning of a system consisting of a mixture of venality and gangsterism."
  • "Capitalism tends toward a productive orientation when the capitalist entrepreneurs can neither use coercion for the purpose of parasitic exploitation, nor are so devoid of strength as to be exposed to exploitation themselves—in other words, when businessmen are too weak to prey upon the other classes, but too strong to be preyed upon. Such a situation—which in my previous books I proposed to call equidependency—requires a certain degree of balance of power between the business elite and the political elite. An important application of the principle of equidependency is that capitalism can function beneficently only in a society where money cannot buy everything, because if it can, then the power of wealth can have no counterweight and a parasitic involution ensues."
  • "The Puritan communities of New England were thoroughly democratic, and this proves that democracy, in the sense of government by the consent of the majority, is not at all inseparable from liberty, in the sense of tolerance of dissent; and may be accompanied by intransigent doctrinairism and persecutions of non-conformism."
  • "Contrary to what many romantically inclined critics of contemporary civilization say about the dehumanizing effects of machines, I believe that contact with machines (particularly complicated machines) exercises a profoundly humanizing influence in the sense of making people less brutal. The reason for that is very simple: machines do not respond to shouting and beating—to make them work one has to think and be patient. In contrast, the use of animals offers a standing lesson in the advantages of brutality—one has only to reflect upon the fact that in an industrialized country people do not carry whips."
  • "The natural sciences did not advance in virtue of the universal appeal of rationality. Their theological, classicist and metaphysical opponents were not converted but displaced. All the ancient universities had to be compelled by outside pressure to make room for science; and most nations began to appreciate it only after succumbing to the weapons produced with its aid. To cut a long story short, scientific method has triumphed throughout the world because it bestowed upon those who practised it power over those who did not. Sorcery lost not because of any waning of its intrinsic appeal to the human mind, but because it failed to match the power created by science. But, though abandoned as a tool for controlling nature, incantations remain more effective for manipulating crowds than logical arguments, so that in the conduct of human affairs sorcery continues to be stronger than science." Social Sciences as Sorcery


His books include:

  • Military organization and society (London, Routledge & Paul, 1954, 2nd edition 1968.)
  • Elements of Comparative Sociology (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964). Published in the United States as The Uses of Comparative Sociology (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1965) Theoretical perspectives grounded in concrete examples.
  • The African Predicament: A Study in the Pathology of Modernization (London: M. Joseph, 1968) Tough-minded social criticism informed by the wider context of Andreski's sociological knowledge. E.g. Andreski notes the conditions of an escalating feedback spiral of distrust which—a few years after the publication of this book—led to Idi Amin's expulsion of the East Asian ethnic community from Uganda.
  • Parasitism and Subversion: the Case of Latin America (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966)
  • Social Sciences as Sorcery (London: Andre Deutsch, 1972)
  • Prospects of a Revolution in the U.S.A., (1973)
  • Syphilis, Puritanism and Witch-hunts (1989, Macmillan Press, Ltd., London) Includes an appendix on the lessons one might apply from this history to the AIDS epidemic.

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