A study has been carried out of the effect of an anodizing pre-treatment in a sulphuric acid electrolyte on the strength of AA 5052 alloy/polypropylene joints prepared using friction stir spot welding. Lap-shear tests were used to determine the joint strength. Comparisons were made with joints pre-treated using sand blasting. The failed specimens were examined by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Anodizing improved the strength of the joints by a factor of about 6 compared with sandblasting. For the anodizing pre-treated joints, melted polymer infiltrated deeply within the nanoporous anodic film, forming a strong polymer-film bond. Joint failure occurred by ductile tearing of the polymer at or near the film surface. In contrast, sandblasted joints failed at the alloy/polymer interface.