George Walford: Sciences
Distinguished by precision: After saying that the Keynesians believed themselves to have grasped the principles of controlling the economy, Jane Jacobs goes on to add that they: ‘concentrated on creating a science of fiscal intervention – a real science, like chemistry or physics, in which one can count on precise, quantifiable interventions yielding predictable, quantifiable results.’ (Cities & the Wealth of Nations, 17).
Napoleon Chagnon brings out the distinction between natural and social sciences: ‘Anthropology as a science differs radically from, let us say, chemistry or genetics. Our subject-matter is made essentially of the same kind of stuff as the observer – the ‘subject-matter’ itself has hopes, fears, desires and emotions. It is easy to identify with people and become intimate with them; a chemist or geneticist cannot have much empathy for carbon or the genes that determine eye color.’ 
If so, can anthropology, sociology and the social studies claim to rank as sciences in the same sense as chemistry or genetics? The term implies a detached objectivity likely to be lacking when it is easy for the investigators to identify with their subject-matter. In the s.i. scheme of things this feature reveals social studies as more sophisticated and intellectually advanced (and consequently more difficult) than the physical and biological sciences.
S.i. locates anthropology on a higher (and therefore less thickly inhabited) level than law, physics, art or accountancy; it also points out that power goes mainly with numbers, so that anthropology will exercise less influence than these other studies. We can now claim the support of Clifford Geertz, a prominent anthropologist, for this conclusion. Anthropology Today  reports him holding that ‘compared with law, physics, music or cost accounting (!) anthropology is a relatively minor social institution.’ (The reporter, an anthropologist himself, describes the claim as ‘typically ironic.’ That looks like defensiveness.
 Chagnon, N. 1983 Yanomamo, the fierce people NY, 191.
 Anthropology Today Volume 10 No.3 June 94,4.
from Ideological Commentary 64, June 1994.
- PSI Circular Number Two (February 1979)
- PSI Circular Number One (January 1979)
- Joshua Feldman: Reconceptualising (systematic) Ideology in the Wake of Political Psychology
- George Walford and Ike Benjamin: The Sad Case of the SPGB
- Linda Sloane: Systematic Ideology and Identity / The Triangle of Society, Ideology and the Individual
- Their “Operation Utopia”
- George Orwell Letters to George Walford
- George Walford: The New Magic
- George Walford: Exploring Ideology
- George Walford: Sciences