Political Thought and History: Essays on Theory and Method

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-02-09
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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John Pocock is arguably the most original and imaginative historian of ideas of modern times. Over the past half century he has created an audience for his work which is truly global, and he has marked the way in which the history of political thought is studied as deeply and personally as any historian of the period. The essays in this major new collection are selected from a lifetime of thinking about political thought, and how we should study it in history. What in fact does it mean to write the history of a political society, and what kind of political thought is this? Professor Pocock emphasises both the theory and practice of political thought considered as action in history, and the political theory of historiography considered as a form of political thought. Together these essays constitute a collection that any serious student of politics and intellectual history needs to possess.

Author Biography

Professor John Pocock, Honorary Fellow of St John's Cambridge, is the Harry C. Black Emeritus Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University. His many seminal works on intellectual history include The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law (1957, second edition 1987), Politics, Language and Time (1971), The Machiavellian Moment (1975), Virtue, Commerce and History (1985), Barbarism and Religion (1999-) and The Discovery of Islands (2005). He has edited The Political Works of James Harrington (1977) and Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1987), as well as the collaborative study The Varieties of British Political Thought (1995). Professor Pocock is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society, and a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Table of Contents

Preface pagep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Political Thought as History
The history of political thought: a methodological inquiry (1962)p. 3
Working on ideas in time (1971)p. 20
Verbalizing a political act: towards a politics of speech (1973)p. 33
Political ideas as historical events: political philosophers as historical actors (1980)p. 51
The reconstruction of discourse: towards the historiography of political thought (1981)p. 67
The concept of a language and the métier d'historien: some considerations on practice (1987)p. 87
Texts as events: reflections on the history of political thought (1987)p. 106
Quentin Skinner: the history of politics and the politics of history (2004)p. 123
History as Political Thought
The origins of study of the past: a comparative approach (1962)p. 145
Time, institutions and action: an essay on traditions and their understanding (1968)p. 187
The historian as political actor in polity, society and academy (1996)p. 217
The politics of history: the subaltern and the subversive (1998)p. 239
The politics of historiography (2005)p. 257
Indexp. 272
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