From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apoliticism is apathy or antipathy towards all political affiliations.[1] A person may be described as apolitical if they are uninterested or uninvolved in politics.[2] Being apolitical can also refer to situations in which people take an unbiased position in regard to political matters.[3] The Collins English Dictionary defines apolitical as "politically neutral; without political attitudes, content, or bias."[4]



During classical antiquity, the Epicureans assumed disengagement from the life of the city as a doctrinal position. Seeking pleasure in the absence of suffering for the body and trouble for the soul, they saw political activity as a source of unnecessary stress that would not lead to these ends.[5]

However, they were not strictly apolitical and participated when political activity would bring them pleasure or aid in the avoidance of their suffering.[6]


The Protestant Anabaptists adopted apolitical beliefs and practices: Anabaptist radicalism resulted in a sharp separation of Christian communities from the state.[citation needed] With the progression of time, peace church traditions and evangelical social reformism have led to greater engagement.[citation needed]

More ascetic traditions have tended to adopt a minimalistic approach to political engagement, personal salvation and church mission being preoccupations instead.[citation needed]


Apoliticism as an ideology is criticised for its claim that it is possible to remain impartial. Many progressive theorists argue that by ignoring the political nature of everyday life, "neutral" individuals make a choice to ignore oppressive regimes and practises, which manifests as an acceptance and passive approval of them. The following instance is indicative of this rhetoric:

"all men are political beings […] Every man, in as much as he is active, i.e. living, contributes to modifying the social environment in which he develops (to modifying certain of its characteristics or to preserving others); in other words, he tends to establish 'norms', rules of living and behaviour."[7]

Antonio Gramsci Selections from Prison Notebooks: State and Civil Society 1971

Another example of this is the political slogan: The personal is political. The phrase was popularised by radical feminist Carol Hanisch in her essay of the same name, which analyses the ways in which the personal problems of women are actually political ones.[8]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ P.51, Rabin & Bowman
  2. ^ "Apolitical". lexico.com. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Iraq war inquiry: Sir John Chilcot vows to 'get to the heart' of decision to go to war". The Daily Telegraph. 24 Nov 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2012."My colleagues and I come to this task with open minds. We are apolitical and independent of any political party. We want to examine the evidence. We will approach our task in a way that is thorough, rigorous, fair and frank."
  4. ^ "Collins: Apolitical". Retrieved 10 Nov 2012.
  5. ^ Wilson, Catherine (2015). Epicureanism: a very short introduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199688326. OCLC 917374685.
  6. ^ Warren, James (2009). The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139002578. OCLC 939968026.
  7. ^ Gramsci, Antonio (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks. International Publishers. ISBN 071780397X.
  8. ^ Hanisch, Carol (2006). "The Personal Is Political: The Women's Liberation Movement classic with a new explanatory introduction". Archived from the original on 2009-08-09.


  • Rabin, Jack; Bowman, James S. (1984). Politics and Administration: Woodrow Wilson and American Public Administration. Public Administration and Public Policy. 22. New York: Dekker. ISBN 0-8247-7068-4

External links[edit]