The Nature of Political Theory PDF, The original idea for this book started life some ten years ago. At the outset, it was envisaged as a short text, but subsequently, it appeared virtually to take on a life of its own. The initial serious research began during a two-year fellowship in the Research School of the Social Sciences at the Australian National University, between 1994 and 1996. My thanks go to the Research School, and particularly to Barry Hindess, who then headed the politics section.
The Nature of Political Theory
The basic question underpinning this book is—what do we think we are doing when we practice political theory? The subject matter of this present book is usually touched upon lightly in the first chapter of most political theory texts, namely the discipline itself as a practice.
It is often considered unproblematic and something to clear out of the way as quickly as possible. The main body of the standard texts is then commonly devoted to the substantive normative analysis and promotion of a concept or series of political concepts, such as rights, justice, equality, and democracy.
Theory, in this mold, is commonly seen as a form of practical philosophy, orientated to, for example, certain kinds of substantive conceptual, normative, and evaluative forms of analysis. In this context, the majority of introductory books on political theory are not so many introductions to political theory, as introductions to a particular conception of political theory.
Any claim that theory should be discussed or introduced in any other way is usually met with the following kind of responses: no one really wants to spend time mulling over the subject of theory, apart from the fact that it might be considered to be intrinsically tedious. The theory is, so the argument goes, by nature an ‘active’ or ‘engaged’ discipline.
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