The Nature of Political Theory

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Oxford University Press, 2007 - Political Science - 354 pages
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In his controversial new book, Andrew Vincent sets out to analyse and challenge the established nostrums of contemporary political theory. The nature of Political Theory offers three major contributions to current scholarship. It offers, first, a comprehensive, synoptic, and comparative analysis of the major conceptions of political theory, predominantly during the twentieth century. This analysis incorporates systematic critiques of both Anglo-American and continental contributions. The'nature' of theory is seen as intrinsically pluralistic and internally divided. Secondly, the idea of foundationalism is employed in the book to bring some coherence to this internally complex and fragmented practice. The book consequently focuses on the various foundational concerns embedded within conceptions of political theory. Thirdly, the book argues for an adjustment to the way we think about the discipline. Political theory is reconceived as a theoretically-based, indeterminate subject, which should be more attuned to practice and history. Andrew Vincent makes a case for a more ecumenical and tolerant approach to the discipline, suggesting that there are different, but equally legitimate, answers to the question, 'what is political theory?'. Acceptance of this view would involve a supplementation of the standard substantive approaches to contemporary political theory. The Nature of Political Theory offers a unique and idiosyncratic perspective on our current understandingof political theory, making it an indispensable resource for all scholars and students of the discipline.

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About the author (2007)

Andrew Vincent is a Professor of Political Theory at the University of Sheffield.

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