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Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory
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Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory

First Edition


December 2003 | 189 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
`This text provides an up to date account of how things currently stand in political philosophy, and will provide an excellent introduction for students from any background. It gives a lucid and careful account of the central controversies and sites of disagreement in political theory over the last thirty years and rather than sacrifice theoretical sophistication and nuance for the sake of clarity and accessibility, it admirably achieves both' -

Catriona McKinnon, University of York

This comprehensive textbook provides a complete and accessible introduction to the main theorists and issues in contemporary political theory today.

The text is organized into two major parts. The first, Contemporary Liberal Theory, outlines four distinct liberal theories of justice to introduce the work of Rawls, Nozick, Gauthier and Dworkin. The second, Alternative Traditions, introduces the theorists and themes associated with four key areas of contemporary debate: communitarianism, multiculturalism, deliberative democracy and feminism.

By giving students questions for consideration and using applied examples throughout, the text illustrates the practical relevance of contemporary theoretical debates to everyday issues in policy and politics.

The result is an essential overview of all the main traditions, issues and positions in political theory today that will serve as an invaluable resource for all students of contemporary political theory, political ideas and political philosophy.

Colin Farrelly is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory will complement Contemporary Political Theory: A Reader edited by Colin Farrelly and also published by SAGE Publications.

 
PART ONE: CONTEMPORARY LIBERAL THEORY
 
Rawls and Justice as Fairness
Introduction  
The Original Position  
Equal Opportunity  
Cohen's Egalitarian Critique  
The Principles that Apply to Individuals  
Who are the Least Advantaged?  
Beitz on Global Justice  
A Political Conception of Justice  
 
Nozick and the Entitlement Theory of Justice
Introduction  
The State: Is it Necessary?  
Wilt Chamberlain and the Entitlement Theory  
The Principle of Initial Acquisition  
The Principle of Rectification  
Conclusion: Self Ownership and Private Property  
 
Gauthier and Justice as Mutual Advantage
Introduction  
Hobbes and the State of Nature  
Gauthier and the Compliance Problem  
What is a Rational Bargain?  
The Limits of Justice as Mutual Advantage  
 
Dworkin on Equality
Introduction  
Dworkin on Equality of Resources  
Welfare Reform and the Basic Income Proposal  
Political Equality and Democracy  
Against Luck Egalitarianism  
 
PART TWO: ALTERNATIVE TRADITIONS
 
Communitarianism
Introduction  
Deontological Liberalism and the Unencumbered Self  
State Neutrality  
Walzer on Complex Equality  
Miller on Nationalism  
Conclusion  
 
Multiculturalism
Introduction: The Politics of Recognition  
Kymlicka and the Rights of National Minorities  
Polyethnic Rights  
Barry Against Multiculturalism  
 
Deliberative Democracy
Introduction: The Importance of Democracy  
Moving Beyond the Aggregated Model of Democracy  
How Substantive are the Principles of Democracy  
Retaining the Critical Edge of Deliberative Democracy  
Critically Assessing the Ideal of Deliberative Democracy  
 
Feminism
Introduction  
Liberal Feminism  
The Public/Private Dichotomy  
The Politics of Difference  
Conclusion  

This book gives an admirably lucid and careful account of the central controversies and sites of disagreement in political theory over the last thirty years; it does not sacrifice theoretical sophistication and nuance for the sake of clarity and accessibility, but rather achieves both. The book provides an up to date account of how things stand currently in political philosophy, and will provide an excellent introduction for students from any background. Reading this book will also greatly benefit anyone interested in how the most important contemporary political philosophers and theorists have approached the question of how we ought to live together.

Dr Catriona McKinnon, Lecturer in Political Philosophy, University of York.

Colin Farrelly has gathered together in one volume several of the key texts that have shaped recent developments in political

theory. The editor's introductions to each section make the readings themselves more accessible to students who are new

to the subject by locating them in a broader context. They also also provide helfpul outlines of some of the other major

theoretical contributions to the schools of thought that are covered. The structure of the book refelcts that of many courses

offering surveys of recent debates between liberals and their critics. It is an excellent teaching resource.

Shane O'Neill, Professor of Political Theory (and Head of the School of Politics and International Studies), Queen's University, Belfast.


Useful for information on the state. Could be used to introduced the modern theory to compare to classical

Miss Mary Frances Forry
Social Sciences, West College Scotland
March 25, 2015

Though limited mostly with liberal thinkers, a good reading material for the beginners of political thought.

Dr Hakan Ongur
Department of Political Science, TOBB University of Economic & Tech
December 27, 2013

Really useful introductions. Very approachable for UG students.

Dr Clare Woodford
Dept of Politics & Int'l Relations, Southampton University
September 21, 2012

This book, together with Farrely's Reader, is really, really wonderful stuff for any introductory course for 2nd year students or higher. If I could redesign our present course on Contemporary Political Theory, I'd almost certainly adopt this text.

Professor Marcel Wissenburg
Department of Political Science, Radboud University Nijmegen
May 31, 2011

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