5th Edition

Political Thinking, Political Theory, and Civil Society

By Steven M. DeLue, Timothy M. Dale Copyright 2021
    506 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    506 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This new edition of Political Thinking, Political Theory, and Civil Society presents a comprehensive overview of the Western tradition of political thought that approaches concepts with the aim of helping readers develop their own political thinking and critical thinking skills. This text is uniquely organized around the theme of civil society - What is the nature of a civil society? Why is it important? - that will engage students and help make the material relevant. Major thinkers discussed in the text are explored not only with the goal of understanding their views but also with an interest in understanding the relationship of their ideas to the notion of a civil society.

    New to this edition:

    • Visual aids and pedagogy

    • New chapter on black political theory and civil society, including a discussion of protest and #BlackLivesMatter in political theory.

    • Expanded discussions of feminism and the LGBTQ movement, as well as an additional discussion of the #MeToo movement from the perspective of its theoretical foundation and its implications for feminist theory. 

    • Revised chapter on multiculturalism, including an expanded discussion of religion, neoliberalism, globalization, and global environmental issues.

    This authoritative text, written by two leading theorists and experienced lecturers, is essential reading for all students of political theory and philosophy.


    1. The Importance of a Civil Society

    Part 1: Civil Society in the Classical and Religious Traditions

    2. Plato: Civic Virtue and the Just Society

    3. Aristotle’s Response to Plato: The Importance of Friendship 43

    4. Christian Conceptions of Civic Virtue

    5. Elements of Islamic and Jewish Medieval Political Thought

    Part 2: Early Modern Approaches to Civil Society

    6. Niccolò Machiavelli: Civic Virtue and Civil Society

    7. Thomas Hobbes and Modern Civil Society

    8. Benedict Spinoza and Liberal Democracy

    9. John Locke, Civil Society, and the Constrained Majority

    10. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Community and Civil Society

    Part 3: Late Modern and Contemporary Approaches to Civil Society

    11. Immanuel Kant: Civil Society and International Order

    12. G. W. F. Hegel: Civil Society and the State

    13. Karl Marx and the Economic Argument about Civil Society

    14. John Stuart Mill: Civil Society as a Higher Calling

    15. John Rawls: The Just and Fair Civil Society

    16. The Conservative View: Edmund Burke, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Michael Oakeshott

    Part 4: Critiques of Civil Society

    17. The Critique of Power in Civil Society: Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault

    18. Feminism, Gender Equality, and Civil Society

    19. 21st Century Challenges for Civil Society: Culture, Religion, and Climate Change

    20. Civil Society, Liberal Democracy, and Racial Injustice: A Political Theory Informed by the Black Experience in America


    Steven M. DeLue is Professor Emeritus at Miami University of Ohio.

    Timothy M. Dale is Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Wisconsin--La Crosse.

    "This is a comprehensive textbook that covers all the historical periods and the most important topics, ideas, debates, and issues in social and political philosophy, as well as many of the dominant and significant theorists or philosophers. The book is well written and easy to read and comprehend, with very clear expositions, analyses, and commentaries."

    Polycarp A. Ikuenobe, Kent State University

    "This book provides students with an extremely solid foundation in political theory and political thinking. Within well organised chapters, the authors provide a broad and accessible discussion of political traditions, allowing students to critically engage with a range of issues and apply their thinking to current political developments. There are welcome additions to the new edition, including climate change, racial injustice and civil rights."

    Stephen Dixon, Newman University

    "No one committed in any way to the understanding of western tradition of political thought should miss this lucid and engaging piece. The authors use simple language to examine and demystify major traditions and approaches of the West to civil societies, writing with insight, wit, and a striking eye for detail. This edition also offers a lively and readable supplement to undergraduate courses in cognate disciplines, including law, philosophy and public theology."

    Olufemi O. Ilesanmi, Robert Gordon University

    "Authors DeLue and Dale capture the essential questions of civil society by providing comprehensive overviews and critiques of some of the most significant thinkers from Plato to Foucault. Technical yet eloquent presentation of timeless debates on topics such as civic virtue lend very well to much larger discussions in the classroom about equality, culture, and politics. This is a vital resource for liberal arts students."

    Kristin Matthews, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Tulsa Community College