front cover of Calhoun and Popular Rule
Calhoun and Popular Rule
The Political Theory of the Disquisition and Discourse
H. Lee Cheek, Jr.
University of Missouri Press, 2004

Although John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) remains one of the major figures in American political thought, many of his critics have tried to discredit him as merely a Southern partisan whose ideas were obsolete even during his lifetime. In Calhoun and Popular Rule, H. Lee Cheek, Jr., attempts to correct such misconceptions by presenting Calhoun as an original political thinker who devoted his life to the recovery of a "proper mode of popular rule." He argues that Calhoun had a coherent, systematic view of human nature and society and made a lasting contribution to the theory of constitutionalism and democracy.

Cheek suggests that Calhoun was not a political or philosophical aberration, but an authentic exponent of American constitutionalism. He contends that Calhoun's view of democracy forms part of a philosophy of humankind and politics that has relevance beyond the American experience. Although his idea of popular rule was original, it was also related to earlier attempts in America and elsewhere to limit the power of the majority and protect minority interests. According to Cheek, Calhoun stood in the American political tradition and attempted to rearticulate some of its central elements. He explains Calhoun's idea of the concurrent majority and examines how it has been presented by Calhoun's critics, as well as his followers.

As the first combined evaluation of Calhoun's most important treatises, The Disquisition and The Discourse, this work merges Calhoun's theoretical position with his endeavors to restore the need for popular rule. It also compares Calhoun's ideas with those of other great political thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison--while explaining what is truly unique about Calhoun's political thought.

Calhoun's philosophy—his understanding of the need for ethical and political restraint and for institutional means for obtaining concurrence—is still relevant today, especially given the current growing ethnic and cultural conflict of the Western world. Scholars of government, American history, and political thought, as well as those interested in understanding "popular rule" and its theoretical and practical impact on modern American government, will find this groundbreaking work to be of great value.


front cover of The Ciceronian Tradition in Political Theory
The Ciceronian Tradition in Political Theory
Edited by Daniel J. Kapust and Gary Remer
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
Cicero is one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Western political thought, and interest in his work has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years. The Ciceronian Tradition in Political Theory focuses entirely on Cicero’s influence and reception in the realm of political thought.

Individual chapters examine the ways thinkers throughout history, specifically Augustine, John of Salisbury, Thomas More, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Hobbes, Locke, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke, have engaged with and been influenced by Cicero. A final chapter surveys the impact of Cicero’s ideas on political thought in the second half of the twentieth century. By tracing the long reception of these ideas, the collection demonstrates not only Cicero’s importance to both medieval and modern political theorists but also the comprehensive breadth and applicability of his philosophy.

front cover of Deliberate Conflict
Deliberate Conflict
Argument, Political Theory, and Composition Classes
Patricia Roberts-Miller
Southern Illinois University Press, 2004

In Deliberate Conflict: Argument, Political Theory, and Composition Classes, Patricia Roberts-Miller argues that much current discourse about argument pedagogy is hampered by fundamental unspoken disagreements over what democratic public discourse should look like. The book’s pivotal question is, In what kind of public discourse do we want our students to engage? To answer this, the text provides a taxonomy, discussion, and evaluation of political theories that underpin democratic discourse, highlighting the relationship between various models of the public sphere and rhetorical theory.

Deliberate Conflict cogently advocates reintegrating instruction in argumentation with the composition curriculum. By linking effective argumentation in the public sphere with the ability to effect social change, Roberts-Miller pushes compositionists beyond a simplistic Aristotelian conception of how argumentation works and offers a means by which to prepare students for active participation in public discourse.


front cover of The Descent of Political Theory
The Descent of Political Theory
The Genealogy of an American Vocation
John G. Gunnell
University of Chicago Press, 1993
This provocative work reveals the origins and development of political theory as it is presently understood—and misunderstood. Tracing the evolution of the field from the nineteenth century to the present, John G. Gunnell shows how current controversies, like those over liberalism or the relationship of theory to practice, are actually the unresolved legacy of a forgotten past. By uncovering this past, Gunnell exposes the forces that animate and structure political theory today.

Gunnell reconstructs the evolution of the field by locating it within the broader development of political science and American social science in general. During the behavioral revolution that swept political science in the 1950s, the relationship between political theory and political science changed dramatically, relegating theory to the margins of an increasingly empirical discipline. Gunnell demonstrates that the estrangement of political theory is rooted in a much older quarrel: the authority of knowledge versus political theory is rooted in a much older quarrel: the authority of knowledge versus political authority, academic versus public discourse. By disclosing the origin of this dispute, he opens the way for a clearer understanding of the basis and purpose of political theory.

As critical as it is revelatory, this thoughtful book should be read by any one interested in the history of political theory or science—or in the relationship of social science to political practice in the United States.

logo for University of Chicago Press
Feminism and Political Theory
Edited by Cass R. Sunstein
University of Chicago Press, 1990
This volume collects some of today's most original and important work at the intersection of feminism and political theory.  A representative and wide-ranging set of readings on feminist political thought, the authors provide large-scale critiques, and in some instances reconstructions, of important strains in  political thought, including notions of equality, rights-based justice, and contract theories.  The  fourteen essays are organized around four major themes:  "The Question of a Different Voice: Care, Justice, and Rights," "Equality and Inequality in Politics and Elsewhere," "Coercion versus Consent, Public versus Private, and Sexuality," and "Trust and Responsibility."

front cover of A Government of Laws
A Government of Laws
Political Theory, Religion, and the American Founding
Ellis Sandoz
University of Missouri Press, 2001

In A Government of Laws, which includes a new preface, Ellis Sandoz re-evaluates the traditional understanding of the philosophic and intellectual background of the American founding.  Through an exhaustive assessment of Renaissance, medieval, and ancient political philosophy, he shows that the founding fathers were consciously and explicitly seeking to create a political order that would meet the demands of human nature and society.  This rigorous and searching analysis of the sources of political and constitutional theory generates an original and provocative approach to American thought and experience.


front cover of Mandela's Dark Years
Mandela's Dark Years
A Political Theory of Dreaming
Sharon Sliwinski
University of Minnesota Press, 2015

Inspired by one of Nelson Mandela’s recurring nightmares, Mandela’s Dark Years offers a political reading of dream-life. Sharon Sliwinski guides the reader through the psychology of apartheid, recasting dreaming as a vital form of resistance to political violence, away from a rational binary of thinking.

This short, provocative study blends political theory with clinical psychoanalysis, opening up a new space to consider the politics of reverie.  

Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.


front cover of Political Political Theory
Political Political Theory
Essays on Institutions
Jeremy Waldron
Harvard University Press, 2016

Political institutions are the main subject of political theory—or they ought to be. Making the case with his trademark forcefulness and intellectual aplomb, Jeremy Waldron argues in favor of reorienting the theory of politics toward the institutions and institutional principles of modern democracy and the mechanisms through which democratic ideals are achieved.

Too many political theorists are preoccupied with analyzing the nature and importance of justice, liberty, and equality, at the cost of ignoring the governmental institutions needed to achieve them. By contrast, political scientists have kept institutions in view, but they deploy a meager set of value-conceptions in evaluating them. Reflecting on an array of issues about constitutional structure, Waldron considers the uses and abuses of diverse institutions and traditions, from separation of powers and bicameralism to judicial review of legislation, the principle of loyal opposition, the nature of representation, political accountability, and the rule of law. He refines his well-known argument about the undemocratic character of judicial review, providing a capacious perspective on the proper role of courts in a constitutional democracy, and he offers an illuminating critique of the contrasting political philosophies of Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin.

Even if political theorists remain fixated on expounding the philosophical foundations of democracy, they need to complement their work with a firmer grasp of the structures through which democracy is realized. This is what political political theory means: theory addressing itself to the way political institutions frame political disagreements and orchestrate resolutions to our disputes over social ideals.


logo for University of Minnesota Press
Political Theory and Praxis
New Perspectives
Terence Ball, Editor
University of Minnesota Press, 1977

Political Theory and Praxis was first published in 1977. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Nine distinguished contributors—philosophers and political scientists at universities and colleges in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia—write essays for this volume in political philosophy. The book is dedicated to the memory of Hannah Arendt, the writer and philosopher who died in 1975. The contributors discuss various aspects of the concepts of theory and practice and their interrelationship. All of the essays were written expressly for this volume. In an introduction, Professor Ball, the volume editor, notes that the essays reflect the diversity of conceptions of theory, of practice, and of their conceptual and practical interrelations, and that the contributors explore various ways and byways of approaching the age-old questions of theory and its relation to practice.

Part I: Origins

"On the History of 'Theory' and 'Praxis'," Nicholas Lobkowicz; "Creatures of a Day: Thought and Action in Thucydides,"J. Peter Euben; " Plato and Aristotle: The Unity Versus the Autonomy of Theory and Practice." Terence Ball.

Part II: Developments

"Kant on Theory and Practice," Carl Raschke; "Theory and Practice in Hegel and Marx: An Unfinished Dialogue,"Peter Fuss; "The Unity of Theory and Practice: The Science of Marx and Nietzsche," Edward Andrew.

Part II: Dilemmas and New Directions

"Hannah Arendt: The Ambiguities of Theory and Practice," Richard J. Bernstein; "Rebels, Beginners, and Buffoons: Politics as Action," Raymond L. Nichols; "How People Change Themselves: The Relationship between Critical Theory and Its Audience," Brian Fay

front cover of Political Theory and Public Policy
Political Theory and Public Policy
Robert E. Goodin
University of Chicago Press, 1983
Some say that public policy can be made without the benefit of theory—that it emerges, instead, through trial-and-error. Others see genuine philosophical issues in public affairs but try to resolve them through fanciful examples. Both, argues Robert E. Goodin, are wrong.

Goodin—a political scientist who is also an associate editor of Ethics—shows that empirical and ethical theory can and should guide policy. To be useful, however, these philosophical discussions of public affairs must draw upon actual policy experiences rather than contrived cases. Further, they must reflect the broader social consequences of policies rather than just the dilemmas of personal conscience.

Effectively integrating the literatures of social science, policy science, and philosophy, Goodin provides a theoretically sophisticated yet empirically well-grounded analysis of public policies, the principles underlying them, the institutions shaping them, and the excuses offered for their failures. This analysis is enhanced by the author's discussion of such specific cases as the disposal of nuclear wastes and the priority accorded national defense—cases that illustrate Goodin's theoretical and methodological framework for approaching policy issues.

front cover of The Political Theory of The Federalist
The Political Theory of The Federalist
David F. Epstein
University of Chicago Press, 1986

In The Political Theory of The Federalist,” David F. Epstein offers a guide to the fundamental principles of American government as they were understood by the framers of the Constitution. Epstein here demonstrates the remarkable depth and clarity of The Federalist’s argument, reveals its specifically political (not merely economic) view of human nature, and describes how and why the American regime combines liberal and republican values.

“While it is a model of scholarly care and clarity, this study deserves an audience outside the academy. . . . David F. Epstein’s book is a fine demonstration of just how much a close reading can accomplish, free of any flights of theory or fancy references.”—New Republic

“Epstein’s strength lies in two aspects of his own approach. One is that he reads the text with uncommon closeness and sensitivity; the other is an extensive knowledge of the European political thought which itself forms an indispensable background to the minds of the authors.”—Times Literary Supplement


front cover of Posthegemony
Political Theory and Latin America
Jon Beasley-Murray
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
Posthegemony is an investigation into the origins, limits, and possibilities for contemporary politics and political analysis. Jon Beasley-Murray grounds his theoretical discussion with accounts of historical movements in Latin America, from Columbus to Chávez, and from Argentine Peronism to Peru's Sendero Luminoso.
Challenging dominant strains in social theory, Beasley-Murray contends that cultural studies simply replicates the populism that conditions it, and that civil society theory merely nourishes the neoliberalism that it sets out to oppose. Both end up entrenching the fiction of a social contract. In place of hegemony or civil society, Beasley-Murray presents a theory of posthegemony, focusing on affect, habit, and the multitude. This approach addresses an era of biopolitics and bare life, tedium and terror, in which state control is ever more pervasive but something always escapes.

In his thorough examination, Beasley-Murray undoes the dominant narrative of hegemonic projects and counterhegemonic resistance, of civilization and subalternity, to reveal instead a history of failed contracts and unpredicted insurgencies.

front cover of Pragmatism and Political Theory
Pragmatism and Political Theory
From Dewey to Rorty
Matthew Festenstein
University of Chicago Press, 1997
Pragmatism has enjoyed a considerable revival in the latter part of the twentieth century, but what precisely constitutes pragmatism remains a matter of dispute. In reconstructing the pragmatic tradition in political philosophy, Matthew Festenstein rejects the idea that it is a single, cohesive doctrine. His incisive analysis brings out the commonalities and shared concerns among contemporary pragmatists while making clear their differences in how they would resolve those concerns. His study begins with the work of John Dewey and the moral and psychological conceptions that shaped his philosophy. Here Festenstein lays out the major philosophic issues with which first Dewey, and then his heirs, would grapple.

The book's second part traces how Dewey's approach has been differently developed, especially in the work of three contemporary pragmatic thinkers: Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam. This first full-length critical study of the relationship between the pragmatist tradition and political philosophy fills a significant gap in contemporary thought.

logo for Harvard University Press
Rethinking Multiculturalism
Cultural Diversity and Political Theory
Bhikhu Parekh
Harvard University Press, 2000

Bhikhu Parekh argues for a pluralist perspective on cultural diversity. Writing from both within the liberal tradition and outside of it as a critic, he challenges what he calls the "moral monism" of much of traditional moral philosophy, including contemporary liberalism--its tendency to assert that only one way of life or set of values is worthwhile and to dismiss the rest as misguided or false. He defends his pluralist perspective both at the level of theory and in subtle nuanced analyses of recent controversies. Thus, he offers careful and clear accounts of why cultural differences should be respected and publicly affirmed, why the separation of church and state cannot be used to justify the separation of religion and politics, and why the initial critique of Salman Rushdie (before a Fatwa threatened his life) deserved more serious attention than it received.

Rejecting naturalism, which posits that humans have a relatively fixed nature and that culture is an incidental, and "culturalism," which posits that they are socially and culturally constructed with only a minimal set of features in common, he argues for a dialogic interplay between human commonalities and cultural differences. This will allow, Parekh argues, genuinely balanced and thoughtful compromises on even the most controversial cultural issues in the new multicultural world in which we live.


front cover of Textual Conspiracies
Textual Conspiracies
Walter Benjamin, Idolatry, and Political Theory
James R. Martel
University of Michigan Press, 2012

“This is a sophisticated and fascinating argument written in a very enjoyably entertaining style.  It is hard for me to see how readers initially interested in these texts will not be ‘swept off their feet’ by the core assertions of this author, and the devastatingly comprehensive way in which he demonstrates those arguments.”
—Brent Steele, University of Kansas

In Textual Conspiracies, James R. Martel applies the literary, theological, and philosophical insights of Walter Benjamin to the question of politics and the predicament of the contemporary left. Through the lens of Benjamin’s theories, as influenced by Kafka, of the fetishization of political symbols and signs, Martel looks at the ways in which various political and literary texts “speak” to each other across the gulf of time and space, thereby creating a “textual conspiracy” that destabilizes grand narratives of power and authority and makes the narratives of alternative political communities more apparent.

However, in keeping with Benjamin’s insistence that even he is complicit with the fetishism that he battles, Martel decentralizes Benjamin’s position as the key theorist for this conspiracy and contextualizes Benjamin in what he calls a “constellation” of pairs of thinkers and writers throughout history, including Alexis de Tocqueville and Edgar Allen Poe, Hannah Arendt and Federico García Lorca, and Frantz Fanon and Assia Djebar.


front cover of Value, Conflict, and Order
Value, Conflict, and Order
Berlin, Hampshire, Williams, and the Realist Revival in Political Theory
Edward Hall
University of Chicago Press, 2020

Is the purpose of political philosophy to articulate the moral values that political regimes would realize in a virtually perfect world and show what that implies for the way we should behave toward one another? That model of political philosophy, driven by an effort to draw a picture of an ideal political society, is familiar from the approach of John Rawls and others. Or is political philosophy more useful if it takes the world as it is, acknowledging the existence of various morally non-ideal political realities, and asks how people can live together nonetheless?

The latter approach is advocated by “realist” thinkers in contemporary political philosophy. In Value, Conflict, and Order, Edward Hall builds on the work of Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire, and Bernard Williams in order to establish a political realist’s theory of politics for the twenty-first century. The realist approach, Hall argues, helps us make sense of the nature of moral and political conflict, the ethics of compromising with adversaries and opponents, and the character of political legitimacy. In an era when democratic political systems all over the world are riven by conflict over values and interests, Hall’s conception is bracing and timely.


front cover of Vocations Of Political Theory
Vocations Of Political Theory
Jason A. Frank
University of Minnesota Press, 2000

front cover of Welfare Reform and Political Theory
Welfare Reform and Political Theory
Lawrence M. Mead
Russell Sage Foundation, 2005
During the 1990s, both the United States and Britain shifted from entitlement to work-based systems for supporting their poor citizens. Much research has examined the implications of welfare reform for the economic well-being of the poor, but the new legislation also affects our view of democracy—and how it ought to function. By eliminating entitlement and setting behavioral conditions on aid, welfare reform challenges our understanding of citizenship, political equality, and the role of the state. In Welfare Reform and Political Theory, editors Lawrence Mead and Christopher Beem have assembled an accomplished list of political theorists, social policy experts, and legal scholars to address how welfare reform has affected core concepts of political theory and our understanding of democracy itself. Welfare Reform and Political Theory is unified by a common set of questions. The contributors come from across the political spectrum, each bringing different perspectives to bear. Carole Pateman argues that welfare reform has compromised the very tenets of democracy by tying the idea of citizenship to participation in the marketplace. But William Galston writes that American citizenship has in some respects always been conditioned on good behavior; work requirements continue that tradition by promoting individual responsibility and self-reliance—values essential to a well-functioning democracy. Desmond King suggests that work requirements draw invidious distinctions among citizens and therefore destroy political equality. Amy Wax, on the other hand, contends that ending entitlement does not harm notions of equality, but promotes them, by ensuring that no one is rewarded for idleness. Christopher Beem argues that entitlement welfare served a social function—acknowledging the social value of care—that has been lost in the movement towards conditional benefits. Stuart White writes that work requirements can be accepted only subject to certain conditions, while Lawrence Mead argues that concerns about justice must be addressed only after recipients are working. Alan Deacon is well to the left of Joel Schartz, but both say government may actively promote virtue through social policy—a stance some other contributors reject. The move to work-centered welfare in the 1990s represented not just a change in government policy, but a philosophical change in the way people perceived government, its functions, and its relationship with citizens. Welfare Reform and Political Theory offers a long overdue theoretical reexamination of democracy and citizenship in a workfare society.

Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter