The Art and Craft of Political Theory  book cover
1st Edition

The Art and Craft of Political Theory

ISBN 9781138616790
Published September 7, 2018 by Routledge
226 Pages

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Book Description

The Art and Craft of Political Theory provides a critical overview of the discipline’s core concepts and concerns and highlights its development of critical thinking and practical judgment. The field’s interdisciplinary strengths are deployed to grapple with emerging issues and engage afresh enduring ideals and quandaries. While conventional definitions of key concepts are provided, original and controversial perspectives are also explored, revealing continuity in a tradition of thought while emphasizing its diversity and innovations. The Art and Craft of Political Theory illustrates the analytic and interpretive skills, the moral and philosophic discernment, and the historical knowledge needed to appreciate a tradition of thought, to contest its claims, and to make good use of its insights.

Topics include:

  • science, ideology and normative theory
  • biology, culture, human nature, power and violence
  • ancient, modern and postmodern political thought
  • liberty, equality, justice, reason and democracy
  • racial, religious, gender and economic identities
  • liberalism, socialism, capitalism, communism, anarchism, feminism and environmentalism
  • social media, automation, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

This concise, lively and accessibly written book is essential reading for all students of political theory.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Theory, Ideology and Irony  2. Human Nature, Power and Politics  3. Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Political Thought  4. The Politics of Identity and Difference  5. Enduring Challenges in a Changing World  6. Technology and the Human Prospect

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Leslie Paul Thiele is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida and Director of the Center for Adaptive Innovation, Resilience, Ethics and Science. His teaching and interdisciplinary research focuses on political thought, sustainability, emerging technologies and the intersection of political philosophy and the natural sciences. His central concerns are the responsibilities of citizenship and opportunities for leadership in a world of rapid technological, social and ecological change.


"Theory is essential, in navigating politics no less than elsewhere. If you want to know how to read, interpret, assess and craft political theory, this is the book for you. Leslie Thiele is a splendid guide to the world of political theory." John S. Dryzek, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra

"I can think of no one better qualified to write the story of political theory than Leslie Paul Thiele. A long-time practitioner of the art and craft himself, Thiele brings erudition, rigor, clarity and fondness to this comprehensive study of the core and periphery of the field of political theory." Simone Chambers, University of California, Irvine

"To many 'political theory' sounds like an oxymoron; equated with the brute struggle for power, politics seems far removed from theory or reflection. As is evident from his earlier book Thinking Politics, Thiele has never subscribed to this view. Steeped in an older legacy, he has always celebrated politics as a thoughtful civic praxis, linked with prudence, foresight and moral responsibility. His new book The Art and Craft of Political Theory elaborates on the many implications of such praxis. May it serve as an antidote and bulwark against the thoughtless 'will to power' devotees in our time." Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame