A genealogy of political theory: a polemic
Contemporary Political Theory
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Here is a sketch of a genealogy of political theory for the last century. This is a genealogy in Nietzsche’s sense: therefore, neither unhistorical taxonomy, nor a history of political theory as it is written by historians, but a typology in time. Four types of modern political theory are distinguished. These are called, with some justification, positive, normative, third way and sceptical political theory. Seen from the vantage of the twenty-first century, they form an instructive sequence, emerging as a series of reactions to the canonical political theory that was established in the universities in the late nineteenth century. None of the four should be excluded from our conception of what political theory has been, though most of them, when seen genealogically, reveal their defects more clearly than they do when treated purely theoretically. Since this is a sceptical finding, the genealogy is a polemic against the first three types of modern political theory in favour of the last.