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Contemporary Political Thought

A Reader and Guide

Edited by Alan Finlayson

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Contemporary Political Thought: A Reader and Guide is a foundation textbook in political theory. It brings together readings by leading exponents of contemporary political theory with lucid introductions, and is the first book in the area to combine these pedagogical elements.

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Contents

Section 1: Histories, Interpretations and Pre-Cursors
Section Introduction
Chapter One: Political Theory in the Twentieth Century by John Seery
Chapter Two: Interpreting Political Thought by Melissa Lane
Section 2: Traditions and their discontents
Section Introduction
Chapter 3: Liberalisms by Mark Evans
Chapter 4: Conservatisms by Alan Finlayson
Chapter 5: Marxisms and Post-Marxisms by Terrell Carver
Section 3: Alternative Visions and Revisions
Section Introduction
Chapter 6: Communitarianism by Mike Kenny
Chapter 7: Feminism by Kate Nash
Chapter 8: Ecologism and Environmentalism by Tim Hayward
Chapter 9: Post-Structuralism and Postmodernism by Iain MacKenzie
Section 4: New Directions?
Section Introduction
Chapter 10: Multi-Culturalism and the Theory and Practice of Normative Political theory by Tariq Modood and Adrian Favell
Chapter 11: Political Thought Beyond the Western Tradition by Oliver
Leaman
Chapter 12: Democratic Theory for a New Century by Anna Marie Smith
Detailed TOC
Preface
Notes on Contributors
General Introduction
Section 1: Histories, Interpretations and Pre-Cursors
Section Introduction
Chapter One: Political Theory in the Twentieth Century by John Seery
Readings
Hannah Arendt, 'Understanding and Politics'
Sheldon Wolin, 'Political Theory as a Vocation', American Political Science Review
Michel Foucault, 'Right of Death and Power Over Life', extract from The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction by Michel Foucault
Chapter Two: Interpreting Political Thought by Melissa Lane
Readings
R.G. Collingwood, selection from An Autobiography
John Dunn, selection from 'The History of Political Theory' in The History of Political Theory and Other Essays
H-G Gadamer, selection from Truth and Method
Section 2: Traditions and their discontents
Section Introduction
Chapter 3: Liberalisms by Mark Evans
Readings:
Alan Gewirth, extract from 'The Epistemology of Human Rights', Social Philosophy and Policy
Richard Rorty, extract from 'Human Rights, Rationality, and Sentimentality' from Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers Volume 3
John Rawls, extract from Political Liberalism
John Rawls, extract from Interview with Bernard Prusak, Commonweal
Sir Isaiah Berlin, extract from 'The Pursuit of the Ideal' from The Crooked Timber of Humanity
John Gray, 'Oakeshott on Law, Liberty and Civil Association' from his Liberalisms
Chapter 4: Conservatisms by Alan Finlayson
Readings:
Michael Oakeshott, extract from 'Rationalism in Politics' in Rationalism and Politics and Other Essays
Roger Scruton, extract from The Meaning of Conservatism
Chapter 5: Marxisms and Post-Marxisms by Terrell Carver
Readings:
Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, extract from Hegemony and Socialist Strategy
Alex Callinicos, extracts from Theories and Narratives: Reflections on the Philosophy of History
Section 3: Alternative Visions and Revisions
Section Introduction
Chapter 6: Communitarianism by Mike Kenny
Readings:
Michael Sandel, 'The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self', Political Theory
Mary Ann Glendon, extracts from Rights Talk
Amitai Etzioni, extracts from The New Golden Rule
Geoff Mulgan, 'Beyond the Lure of Off-The-Shelf Ethics', The Independent
Chapter 7: Feminism by Kate Nash
Readings:
Anne Phillips, extract from Which Equalities Matter?
Liz Frazer and Nicola Lacey, extract from The Politics of Community
Iris Marion Young, extract from Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory
Judith Butler, 'Contingent Foundations: Feminism and the Question of Postmodernism' in Judith Butler and Joan Scott, Feminists Theorize the Political
Chapter 8: Ecologism and Environmentalism by Tim Hayward
Readings:
Andrew Dobson, extract from Green Political Thought
Robert Goodin, extract from Green Political Theory
Vandana Shiva, extract from Staying Alive
Chapter 9: Post-Structuralism and Postmodernism by Iain MacKenzie
Readings:
Chantal Mouffe, extracts from The Return of the Political
William Connolly, extract from 'A Critique of Pure Politics', Philosophy and Social Criticism
Judith Butler, extract from Gender Trouble
Section 4: New Directions?
Section Introduction
Chapter 10: Multi-Culturalism and the Theory and Practice of Normative Political Theory by Tariq Modood and Adrian Favell
Readings:
Will Kymlicka, extract from Multicultural Citizenship
Iris Marion Young, extract from Justice and the Politics of Difference
Bhikhu Parekh, extract from Rethinking Multiculturalism
Chapter 11: Political Thought Beyond the Western Tradition by Oliver Leaman
Readings:
D.T. Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture
Mao Tze Tung, Selected Works of Mao Tze Tung, vol. 1
Khomeini, Islam and Revolution
Chapter 12: Democratic Theory for a New Century by Anna Marie Smith
Readings:
Judith Butler, 'Sexual Inversions' in Donna Stanton (ed.) Discourses of Sexuality
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, 'Women Workers and Capitalist Scripts: Ideologies of Domination, Common Interests and the Politics of Solidarity', in M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty (eds.), Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures
Gwendolyn Mink, Welfare's End
Bibliography
Glossary
Acknowledgements.

About the Author

Alan Finlayson is professor of Political and Social Theory at the University of East Anglia. He is co-editor (with Jeremy Valentine) of Politics and Post-Structuralism: An Introduction (EUP, 2002) and co-author of Contemporary Social and Political Thought: An Introduction (1999)

Reviews

There is a real need for a book of this kind. I know of no other text which covers this range of material and certainly not one which includes several readings. Suitable for both undergraduate and masters level introductory courses in contemporary political theory and I would certainly recommend it as essential reading for such courses.
- Dr Susan Stephenson, University of Southampton
This is an ambitious text that will be very useful in the classroom because of its commitment to present a very broad range of contemporary political thought in both a historical and an intellectual context.
- Professor Lisa Disch, University of Minnesota
Well organised, including all the topics that a course on contemporary political thought should cover, and several other important topics that most texts omit.
- Professor Mark Graber, University of Maryland
His admirable introduction to this collection [offers] an account of the concerns of political theory and of its potential role in actual political life, that is both accessible to those new to the field and seeking orientation in a complex, fragmented subject, and reflexively aware of its role in the making and remaking of that subject… The collection has the feel not only of 'A Reader and Guide' - doing exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak - but also of an intervention in, and engagement with, the field it seeks to delineate. And it is all the more interesting and exciting for that... Any tutor charged with the task of convincing a group of sceptical students as to why they need to be studying political theory could do a lot worse than recommend they read Finlayson's 'General Introduction' to the book… The whole package is designed not merely as an overview of the field, but also as a useful teaching-aid and resource - no bad thing given the escalating costs of books and the relative impoverishment of students. The individual essays by contributors vary in style and approach… All are accessible and all are worth reading, borth for students and academics alike… As a reader and a guide the book succeeeds. As an incitement to think clearly and critically about politics - and as an example of such thinking - it succeeds admirably.
- Contemporary Political Theory