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Political Concepts

A Reader and Guide

Edited by Iain MacKenzie


Combines introductions with key readings in 20 core political concepts, from Civil Society to Toleration

This major textbook offers both an introduction to and key readings in twenty core political concepts. It blends original essays that survey debates and contact with up-to-date primary literature to provide students with an ideal collection for use on a wide range of courses in political studies.

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Introduction: What are Political Concepts?
Part One: Political Principles
(1) Justice (David Stephens, University of Nottingham)
(2) Liberty (Patrick Bernhagen, University of Dublin)
(3) Equality (Stephen de Wijze, University of Manchester)
(4) Rights (Ruth Abbey, University of Kent at Canterbury)
Part Two: Political Legitimacy
(1) Democracy (Stephen Elstub, University of Sheffield)
(2) Representation (Christian Brutsch, University of Zurich)
(3) Toleration (Philip Cole, Middlesex University)
(4) Multiculturalism (Paul Graham, University of Glasgow)
Part Three: Governing the Political
(1) The State (John McGovern, University of East London)
(2) The Rule of Law (Sylvie Delacroix, University of Kent)
(3) Civil Society (Birgit Schippers, St Mary's University College, Belfast)
(4) Power (Mark Wenman, University of Essex)
Part Four: Political Identities
(1) Human Nature (Christopher Berry, University of Glasgow)
(2) Community (Adrian Little, University of Melbourne)
(3) The Nation (Alice Ludwig, University of Vienna)
(4) Globalisation (Debbie Lisle, Queen's University, Belfast)
Part Five: Structuring the Political
(1) Ideology (Robert Porter, University of Ulster)
(2) Discourse (James Martin, Goldsmiths College, London)
(3) Difference (Nathan Widder, University of Exeter)
(4) The Body Politic (Kieran Laird, Queen's University, Belfast)
Analytical Table of Contents
Notes on Contributors
General Introduction
Part 1 Political Principles
1. Justice David Stevens
John Rawls, extracts from A Theory of Justice
Robert Nozick, extracts from Anarchy, State and Utopia
G. A. Cohen, extracts from 'Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice', Philosophy and Public Affairs
2. Liberty Patrick Bernhagen
Isaiah Berlin, extracts from 'Two Concepts of Liberty', Four Essays on Liberty
G. A. Cohen, extracts from 'Capitalism, Freedom and the Proletariat', D. Miller (ed), Liberty
Wendy Brown, extracts from States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity
3. Equality Stephen de Wijze
Kurt Vonnegut, 'Harrison Bergeron'
Gregory Vlastos, extracts from 'Justice and Equality', Richard Brandt (ed), Social Justice
John H. Schaar, extracts from 'Equality of Opportunity and Beyond', J. Chapman and R. Pennock (eds.), Equality
4. Rights Ruth Abbey
John Rawls, extracts from A Theory of Justice
Will Kymlicka, extracts from Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights
Richard Rorty, extracts from 'Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality', Stephen Shute and Susan Hurley (eds.), On Human Rights: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures: 1993
Part 2 Political Legitimacy
1. Democracy Stephen Elstub
Joshua Cohen, extracts from 'Deliberation and Democratic Legitimacy', Alan Hamlin and Philip Pettit (eds.), The Good Polity: Normative Analysis of the State
Jon Elster, extracts from 'The Market and the Forum: Three Varieties of Political Theory', James Bohman and William Rehg (eds.), Deliberative Democracy
Iris Marion Young, extracts from 'Communication and the Other: Beyond Deliberative Democracy', Seyla Benhabib (ed.) Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political
2. Representation Christian Brütsch
Geoffrey Brennan and Alan Hamlin, extracts from 'On Political Representation', British Journal of Political Science
Paul Hirst, extracts from 'Associational Democracy', David Held (ed), Prospects for Democracy
Iris Marion Young, extracts from Inclusion and Democracy
3. Toleration Phillip Cole
Voltaire, extract from Philosophical Dictionary
Michael Walzer, extracts from Spheres of Justice
Joseph Raz, extracts from The Morality of Freedom
Susan Mendus, 'The Tigers of Wrath and the Horses of Instruction', John Horton (ed.) Liberalism, Multiculturalism and Toleration
4. Multiculturalism Paul Graham
Will Kymlicka, extracts from Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights
James Tully, extracts from Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity
Jürgen Habermas, extracts from 'Struggles for Recognition in a Democratic Constitutional State', Amy Guttmann (ed), Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition
Part 3 Governing the Political

1. The State John McGovern
[to be inserted]
2. Rule of Law Sylvie Delacroix
Joseph Raz, extracts from The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality
Ronald Dworkin, extracts from A Matter of Principle
Lon Fuller, extracts from The Morality of Law
3. Civil Society Birgit Schippers
Iris Marion Young, extracts from Inclusion and Democracy
Carole Pateman, extracts from The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism and Political Theory
Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, extracts from Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics
4. Power Mark Wenman
Michel Foucault, extracts from History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction
Claude Lefort, extracts from Democracy and Political Theory
Ernesto Laclau, extracts from 'Democracy and the Question of Power', Constellations
Part 4 Political Identities
1. Human Nature Christopher Berry
Clifford Geertz, extracts from The Interpretation of Cultures
Bernard Williams, extracts from Making Sense of Humanity and Other Philosophical Papers
Roger Masters, extracts from The Nature of Politics
2. Community Adrian Little
Michael Sandel, extracts from 'The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self', Political Theory
Charles Taylor, extracts from 'Cross-Purposes: The Liberal-Communitarian Debate', Nancy Rosenblum (ed.) Liberalism and the Moral Life
Amitai Etzioni, 'The Third Way is a Triumph' New Statesman
3. Nation Alice Ludvig
Ernest Gellner, extracts from Nations and Nationalism
Benedict Anderson, extracts from Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (Revised Edition)
Roger Brubaker and Frederick Cooper, extracts from 'Beyond Identity', Theory and Society: Renewal and Critique in Social Theory
Craig Calhoun, extracts from Nationalism
4. Globalization Debbie Lisle
Anthony Giddens, 'Globalisation', Lecture 1 of the 1999 BBC Reith Lectures
Doreen Massey, extracts from Space, Place and Gender
Jan Aarte Scholte, extracts from Globalization: A Critical Introduction
Part 5 Structuring the Political
1. Ideology Robert Porter
Jürgen Habermas, extracts from The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity
Slavoj Zizek, extracts from 'Introduction', Slavoj Zizek (ed), Mapping Ideology
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, extracts from Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
2. Discourse James Martin
Michael J. Shapiro, extracts from 'Metaphor in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences', Culture and Critique
Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, extracts from Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics
Gearoid O' Tuathail and John Agnew, extracts from 'Geopolitics and discourse: Practical geopolitical reasoning in American foreign policy', Political Geography
3. Difference Nathan Widder
Ernesto Laclau, extract from Emancipation(s)
William E. Connolly, extracts from Identity/Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox
4. The Body Politic Kieran Laird
Judith Butler, extract from Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
Michel Foucault, extracts from Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
Vivian Sobchack, extract from 'Beating the Meat/Surviving the Text, or How to Get Out of This Century Alive', Mike Featherstone and Roger Burrows (ed), Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment.

About the Author

Iain MacKenzie is a Lecturer in Politics, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent.


MacKenzie's reader and guide is distinguished by its contemporary focus, its unusually broad coverage and by its format … This is a compendious, sensible and well-organised volume which gives undergraduate readers a bit of help in getting to grips with some of the central texts in contemporary political thought.

- Political Studies Review