Political Theory: Methods and Approaches

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OUP Oxford, Jul 31, 2008 - Philosophy - 224 pages
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Lively introduction to the many interesting ways to do political theory in the 21st century. - ;Political theorists are too often silent on questions of method and approach. David Leopold and Marc Stears have assembled a distinguished group of contributors to break that silence and to explain and defend the research methods they utilise in their own work. The result is a rich and varied collection which does not suggest that there is only one right way to conduct political theory, but rather introduces readers to many of the often unelaborated methods and approaches that currently inform the work of leading scholars in the field. Amongst the topics covered are the complex and contested connections between political theory and a range of adjacent disciplines - including moral philosophy, the empirical social sciences, the history of political thought, the world of 'real' politics, critical social theory, and ideology. Both individually and as a collection, these essays will promote understanding and provoke further debate amongst students and established scholars alike. They will be encouraged to reflect on their own methodological assumptions, to re-examine the practical tools of analysis they employ, and to re-evaluate why the research they do matters. -
 

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Political Theory: Methods and Approaches
David Leopold, Marc Stears - 2008 - 224 pages
Political Theory: Methods and Approaches is one of the first books to analyze research methods in political
theory and political philosophy. Drawing together essays by a distinguished set of contributors, this rich and varied collection introduces students to many of the often unelaborated methods and approaches that currently inform the work of leading scholars in the field. The selections consider how political theory should be conducted today and also examine the complex and contested connections between political theory and a range of adjacent disciplines--moral philosophy, the empirical social sciences, the history of political thought, the world of "real" politics, critical social theory, and ideology. Both individually and as a collection, these essays will promote understanding and provoke further debate amongst students and established scholars alike.
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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Analytical political philosophy
11
2 Political philosophy for Earthlings
29
3 Political theory social science and real politics
49
4 Why be formal?
70
the method of critique
85
6 Dialectical approaches
106
7 Political theory and history
128
8 Using archival sources to theorize about politics
150
9 Political theory and the boundaries of politics
171
language interpretation and ideology
196
FURTHER READING
216
INDEX
221
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About the author (2008)


Marc Stears is University Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, and Fellow in Politics at University College, Oxford. He is the author of Progressives, Pluralists and the Problems of the State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), and of numerous articles in political theory, the history of political thought, and American political development. He is currently completing a book on radical democratic theory in the twentieth century United States entitled, Democracy's Demands: Deliberation, Agonism and the American Radical Tradition.
David Leopold teaches political theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, and is a Fixed-Term Fellow in Politics at Mansfield College, Oxford. His recent publications include: The Young Karl Marx. German Philosophy, Modern Politics, and Human Flourishing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); 'The State and I: Max Stirner's Anarchism', in Douglas Moggach (edited), The New Hegelians (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp.176-199; and 'The Structure of Marx and Engels' Considered Account of Utopian Socialism', History of Political Thought, 26/3 (2005), pp.443-466. He is currently working on some issues raised by utopianism in both the history of political thought and contemporary political theory.

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