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The Practical Turn in Political Theory

Eva Erman, Niklas Möller

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The first systematic analysis of current debates surrounding the role of practice in political theory

Should social and political practices play a role in the justification of normative political principles? In several sub-domains of political theory, theorists have suggested that practices constrain principles in various ways. This book joins five key debates in the current theoretical literature that have been largely taking place in isolation and identifies common strands of argument and their shared problems. By illuminating these connections and cross-fertilising key debates in the current theoretical literature, it develops a unified way forward for practice-based political theory.

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1. Introduction
2. Practices and Principles In Current Debates
3. Linguistic Constraints
4. Methodological Constraints
5. Epistemological Constraints
6. Political Constraints
7. Stalemates and Ways Forward.

About the Author

Eva Erman is Professor at the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University. She works in the field of political philosophy, with special interest in democratic theory, critical theory and metaethics. Erman is the author of serveral books and has published in journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, Journal of Political Philosophy, Political Theory, Philosophy & Social Criticism, European Journal of International Relations, International Theory and Human Rights Quarterly. In addition, she is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Ethics & Global Politics.

Niklas Möller is Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor (Docent) in Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy and the History of Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. He works in the fields of political philosophy, moral philosophy, metaethics, and the philosophy of risk. Möller has published articles in journals such as Philosophical Studies, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Political Philosophy, Social Theory & Practice, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, European Journal of Political Theory, Journal of Philosophical Research.


In their excellent book, Eva Erman and Niklas Möller shed new light on the classic question of the relation between political theory and practice. By way of a masterful analysis of current methodological approaches, they show how one avoids one-sided "ideal-based" as well as "realistic" theoretical perspectives. Essentially, they present a powerful and much-needed argument against reductionist notions of political normativity.

- Rainer Forst, Goethe University Frankfurt

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