International Journal’s weblog

July 31, 2008

IJ Featured review: Paul Robinson on Michael Byers’ Intent for a Nation: What is Canada For?

Filed under: Uncategorized — internationaljournal @ 4:14 pm

Polemics create problems for reviewers. Inevitably, reviewers’ attitudes to-
wards them will be biased by their political opinions. If they happen to agree
with the politics of the writer, they will be inclined to find the polemic cogent
and forceful; if they happen to disagree, they will be inclined to find it inco-
herent and naïve. Polemics also need to be distinguished from scholarly
works. There is little point in a reviewer noting selective use of evidence, lack
of sourcing, and so on; these come with the territory. The real measure of a
polemic is not whether its arguments are valid or properly supported by ev-
idence, but whether the work in question is likely to achieve the political pur-
pose for which it was written.

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