Political Thought and History: Essays on Theory and Method

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Overview

John Pocock is arguably the most original and imaginative historian of ideas of modern times. Over the past half century he has created an audience for his work which is truly global, and he has marked the way in which the history of political thought is studied as deeply and personally as any historian of the period. The essays in this major new collection are selected from a lifetime of thinking about political thought, and how we should study it in history. What in fact does it mean to write the history of a political society, and what kind of political thought is this? Professor Pocock emphasises both the theory and practice of political thought considered as action in history, and the political theory of historiography considered as a form of political thought. Together these essays constitute a collection that any serious student of politics and intellectual history needs to possess.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pocock's most notable qualities, his wide-ranging erudition, his humour, his commitment to a humane political life, are all on display in abundance in these essays."
Canadian Journal of Political Science, Kenneth McIntyre, Concordia University

"The connections Pocock draws between history, citizenship and identity offer promising new directions of further research into the power of 'storytelling' and 'myth-making.'"
The Review of Politics, Lisa Pace Vetter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521886574
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2009
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor John Pocock, Honorary Fellow of St John's Cambridge, is the Harry C. Black Emeritus Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University. His many seminal works on intellectual history include The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law (1957, second edition 1987), Politics, Language and Time (1971), The Machiavellian Moment (1975), and Virtue, Commerce and History (1985). He has edited The Political Works of James Harrington (1977) and Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1987), as well as the collaborative study The Varieties of British Political Thought (1995). Professor Pocock is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society, and a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

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Table of Contents

Foreword; Part I. Political Thought as History: 1. The history of political thought: a methodological enquiry; 2. Working on ideas in time; 3. Verbalizing a political act: towards a politics of speech; 4. Political ideas as historical events; political philosophers as historical actors; 5. The reconstruction of discourse: towards the historiography of political thought; 6. The concept of a language and the metier d'historien: some considerations on practice; 7. Texts as events: reflections on the history of political thought; 8. Quentin Skinner: the history of politics and the politics of history; Part II. History as Political Thought: 9. The origins of study of the past: a comparative approach; 10. Time, institutions and action: an essay on traditions and their understanding; 11. The historian as political actor in polity, society and academy; 12. The politics of history: the subaltern and the subversive; 13. The politics of historiography.

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