1st Edition

Interpretation in Political Theory

Edited By Clement Fatovic, Sean Noah Walsh Copyright 2017
    248 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Theorists interested in learning more about any given interpretive approach are often required to navigate a dizzying array of sources, with no clear sense of where to begin. The prose of many primary sources is often steeped in dense and technical argot that novices find intimidating or even impenetrable. Interpretation in Political Theory provide students of political theory a single introductory reference guide to major approaches to interpretation available in the field today.

    Comprehensive and clearly written, the book includes:

    • A historical and theoretical overview that situates the practice of interpretation within the development of political theory in the twentieth century.

    • Chapters on Straussian esotericism, historical approaches within the Cambridge School of interpretation, materialist approaches associated with Marxism, the critical approaches associated with varieties of feminism, Greimassian semiotics, Foucaultian genealogy, the negative dialectics of Theodor Adorno, deconstruction as exemplified by Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man, and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

    • An exposition of the theoretical and disciplinary background of each approach, the tools and techniques of interpretation it uses, its assumptions about what counts as a relevant text in political theory, and what it considers to be the purpose or objective of reading in political theory.

    • A reading of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan to illustrate how each approach can be applied in practice.

    • A list of suggestions for further reading that will guide those interested in pursuing more advanced study.

    An invaluable textbook for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and even seasoned scholars of political theory interested in learning more about different interpretive approaches.

    Introduction: Interpretation and the Politics of Meaning Sean Noah Walsh and Clement Fatovic

    1. The Interpretive Methodology of Leo Strauss Craig Ewasiuk

    2. The "Cambridge School(s)" of Interpretation: An Overview and User’s Guide Ben J. Taylor and Daniel I. O’Neill

    3. Marxian Interpretations of Political Theory: Locating a Tradition Katherine A. Gordy

    4. Feminist Interventions into Political Theory: The Power of Supplemental Logic Mary Caputi

    5. On the Use of Greimassian Semiotics for Political Theory Sean Noah Walsh

    6. Genealogical Interpretation in Political Theory Thomas Biebricher

    7. Negative Dialectics as an Interpretative Approach to Political Theory Bryant W. Sculos

    8. Deconstruction and Interpretation in Political Theory Mary Caputi and Sean Noah Walsh

    9. Psychoanalytic Theory and Textual Interpretation Ty Solomon

    Conclusion Clement Fatovic and Sean Noah Walsh


    Clement Fatovic is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University. His research focuses on early American political thought, theories of emergency power and the rule of law, and economic inequality.

    Sean Noah Walsh teaches political theory at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. His research interests include critical theory, counterrevolutionary practices, and the use of power to install sexual repression.

    'Interpretation in Political Theory provides a multi-faceted outlook on a key text in political philosophy, Hobbes’s Leviathan, and in doing so opens up multiple lines of inquiry for the student of political philosophy. The contributions to this work provide a fine introduction to several of the most prominent approaches to the study of political philosophy, and will be a useful addition to the field for students and theorists alike.' - Richard Dougherty, University of Dallas

    'Sean Noah Walsh and Clement Fatovic have brought together an impressive group of scholars to produce an admirable reference guide to the major interpretive approaches in Political Theory. There is nothing like it, and I am sure that Interpretation in Political Theory will be a valuable resource for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and even professors of Political Theory.' - Gregory A. McBrayer, Morehead State University