- Public things
- theory from below
- grounded normativity
Do you consider that your work belongs to the field of "political theory", and why? If so, what has drawn you to do political theory and to describe your work as belonging to the field?
I train graduate students in political theory; my books are reviewed in political theory journals and two have been recognised with American Political Science Association (APSA) prizes in political theory. I served as organiser of the APSA annual conference (2010) at which I have also presented work for the discipline, most recently, a Trump panel for the APSA (2018). If political theory is home to the normative, historical, and critical study of politics within the domain of political science, and if the APSA is the official professional organisation of the discipline in the U.S., then this is surely a field to which my work belongs.
In addition, my first book, Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (1993), argued for the unique perspective of political theory over and against that of philosophy for the study of politics. Political theory, I argued, was committed to theorising the promise, powers, conditions, and limits of political contestation rather than seeking to settle political debates with philosophically justified right answers. This argument, in favor of "agonism," drew on Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Foucault, Arendt, and others to claim that even the best worked-out philosophical formulas for justice generate remainders that are casualties of the philosophical approach to politics…
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