The Political Theory of Political Thinking: The Anatomy of a Practice (Hardback)
  • The Political Theory of Political Thinking: The Anatomy of a Practice (Hardback)
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The Political Theory of Political Thinking: The Anatomy of a Practice (Hardback)

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£74.00
Hardback 358 Pages / Published: 08/08/2013
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What does it mean to say that human beings think politically, and what is distinctive about that kind of thinking? That question is all-too infrequently asked by political theorists, or is dealt with through generalizations, abstractions, and dichotomies. This study examines the actual, real-world patterns people display when thinking politically, identifying six features of political thinking. They include the role of making ultimate decisions and regulating all social affairs, ranking collective priorities, mobilizing support for groups or withholding it, conceptualizing social order and stability as well as disorder and instability, projecting future visions and constructing plans for a society, and engaging the power aspects embedded in language, by means of reason, rhetoric, emotion or menace. Concurrently the untidiness and occasional failures of thinking politically are acknowledged alongside its quest for neatness. A large number of case studies is employed, drawn both from professional political theorists and philosophers and from various instances of vernacular usage: politicians, political commentators, or protest groups. Both contemporary and historical evidence from different cultures is utilized in illustrating the theoretical framework of the book. This is the first systematic study of political thinking as a cluster of thought-practices, combining insights from political theory-traditional and recent-the study of language and discourse, and political science. This investigation of 'the political' as a mode of thinking challenges many conventional understandings of political thought in the current literature, teases out what is political-not philosophical or ethical-in political theory, and locates it as a complex and ubiquitous social practice present at all points of human interaction and at diverse levels of articulation.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199568031
Number of pages: 358
Weight: 676 g
Dimensions: 247 x 182 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is undoubtedly one of the most unusual books written by a leading political theorist in the last few years ... The core ambitions of this highly innovative work are to establish the significance of the innumerable thought-practices that figure within the complex patterns of everyday political thinking, and to ask why it is that these are routinely ignored or overlooked by political theorists. It is to the authors considerable credit that he makes his heterodox case in a carefully reasoned and intellectually sophisticated fashion. * Michael Kenny, Queen Mary University of London, Political Studies Review *
In a highly erudite and comprehensive manner, the prominent British political theorist Freeden (Univ. of Nottingham) raises fundamental questions about how students of politics and others engage in political thinking. * H. L. Cheek Jr., East Georgia State College, CHOICE *
Freedens tour of the terrain of political decision-making creates a rich context for common notions, such as Max Webers monopoly of legitimate force. Similarly Freeden provides a stimulating analysis of rights claims as conversation stoppers, in a subsection of chapter 4: Rights: The Ranking Device Par Excellence ... in shedding new light on how different conceptualizations of political concepts fit together in diverse overall approaches to thinking politically, Freeden makes a valuable contribution. * George Klosko, University of Virginia, The Review of Politics *
This volume is an important and welcome intervention in the conversations of political theory. Michael Freeden advances a dense, complex, and provocative theoretical argument as well as a research agenda, which deserve wide attention and critical discussion among both political theorists and political scientists ... It is unfortunate that most contemporary political theorists are not, by either inclination or training, prepared to undertake the kind of study that Freeden has both advocated and personified and to confront the issues that his work raises ... Freedens work makes a strong case for the claim that an important first step is to theoretically engage and study the kind of thinking that actually takes place in politics. * John G. Gunnell, European Journal of Political Theory *

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