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What’s a Political Theorist to Do?

Rawls, the Fair Value of the Basic Political Liberties, and the Collapse of the Distinction Between ‘Ideal’ and ‘Nonideal’ Theory

Susan Orr and James Johnson

The primary task of political theory on one common view is to first articulate ideals or principles and only then consider how the practices and institutions that constitute the political world as we know it might be brought into line with the

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Lena Steveker

and Concubine engages with political issues of the 1630s. The play's political agenda has been discussed before, most notably by Martin Butler who sees The Queen and Concubine as critically juxtaposing two contrasting forms of government

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Christopher J. Allsobrook

In two recent books – Freedom Is Power: Liberty through Political Representation ( FIP ) and Are South Africans Free? – Lawrence Hamilton has developed and elaborated what he calls a ‘radically new’ conception of freedom. He argues that

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Political Theory and Political Science

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Terence Ball

The too-often unhappy 'marriage' of political theory and political science has long been a source of anguish for both partners. Should this troubled partnership be dissolved? Or might this marriage yet be saved? Ball answers the former question negatively and the latter affirmatively. Playing the part of therapist instead of theorist, he selectively recounts a number of episodes which estranged the partners and strained the marriage. And yet, he concludes that the conflicts were in hindsight more constructive than destructive, benefiting both partners in heretofore unexpected ways and perhaps paving a path toward reconciliation and rapprochement.

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Political Theology

The Authority of God

Avishai Margalit

There are two theses that are intimately related to the idea of authority. One is political theology. It is associated with the name of Carl Schmitt. The second is moral theology. It is associated with Elizabeth Anscombe (though she never used the expression ‘moral theology’). Political theology is the claim that key notions in modern and secular political doctrines are unwittingly moored in theological and teleological world views. These notions in their secularized versions make no sense and can be validated only within a theological frame for which they were designed. ‘Sovereignty’ and ‘authority’ are paradigmatic cases of such key notions. Moral theology is a parallel claim. Key moral notions in modern moral doctrines are moored in a theological and teleological frame. They gain their currency only in such a frame. Unmoored, as these notions are in a current secular frame, they have lost their sense. ‘Obligation’ and ‘duty’ are paradigmatic examples of such notions anchored in the old idea of God the law-giver. Without God the law-giver these notions make very little sense. Secular morality is like the famous explanation of what wireless is. Well, you know what wire is. It is like a dog: you pull its tail in Jerusalem and it barks in Rome. Now, wireless works like wire, but without the dog. Morality without God is like wireless without the dog.

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Tal Correm

inequality in which resistors are embedded in reality of violence they fight to overthrow complicates this justification and the meaning of violence itself. If violence is constitutive of the political reality, the violence of the oppressed against the

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Astrid Stilma

Early modern political discourse was no stranger to the use of angels and demons to denote the binary opposition between good and evil, Self and Other - and neither was the early modern stage. References to the divine and the demonic might be used to clarify complex political issues to the public, legitimise one's own position, or sling mud at one's opponents. This article focuses on two early Jacobean history plays, Barnabe Barnes's The Devil's Charter (1606) and Thomas Heywood's If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody (1605); it examines the use of angels and demons in the staging of issues of religious difference and political action in the confusing years following Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603, when old attitudes to traditional 'Others' had to be reconfigured in the light of the views and interests of the new monarch, King James VI and I.

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Richard Brown

McEwan’s Saturday (2005) begins and ends in the edgy border zones between sleeping and waking, the public and the private, night and day. The main plot action concerns a violent threat to the domestic security of its protagonist Henry Perowne, while its setting draws on contemporary political events. It is a novel which can be seen to develop aspects of earlier works, including A Child in Time (1987), Black Dogs (1992) and Enduring Love (1997). As a novel set on a single day, it can be compared with a closely contemporary American work, Don de Lillo’s Cosmopolis (2003) and the modernist day novel such as James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925). Saturday communicates its political themes in terms of family life, celebrates the power of the novel to explore both pathological and political states of the mind and draws on uncanny politicising effects in representing the everyday.

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Maša Mrovlje and Jennet Kirkpatrick

in political theory, standing at the heart of attempts to respond to the dilemmas of contemporary times. However, many accounts tend to ascribe to an idealised, heroic view. In this view, resistance represents a clear-cut action against injustice and

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Marcelo Hoffman

Anxiety about the party form casts a long shadow over various currents of radical political theory. This anxiety is rooted in historical experiences and legacies not only among long-established communist and socialist parties in Europe but