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The Rise and Fall of Political Orders

Book description

Drawing on political theory, comparative politics, international relations, psychology and classics, Ned Lebow offers insights into why social and political orders form, how they evolve, and why and how they decline. Following The Tragic Vision of Politics and A Cultural Theory of International Relations, this book thus completes Lebow's trilogy with an original theory of political order. He identifies long- and short-term threats to political order that are associated respectively with shifts in the relative appeal of principles of justice and lack of self-restraint by elites. Two chapters explore the consequences of late-modernity for democracy in the United States, and another chapter, co-authored with Martin Dimitrov, the consequences for authoritarianism in China. The Rise and Fall of Political Orders forges new links between political theory and political science via the explicit connection it makes between normative goals and empirical research.


‘A continuation of a well-established intellectual demonstration by one of the world's leading political theorists, this book strengthens the ties between its predecessors, Tragic Vision and Cultural Theory, to form a historically informed and complex tripartite theory of order as one main aspect of human political strife. Lebow's understanding dwells on his decades of study on the relationship between classical wisdom and modern social science – erudition and playfulness thus come together to constitute a strong and original statement for political understanding and action. Thought-provoking, challenging, and important.'

Christian Wendt - Freie Universität Berlin

‘The Rise and Fall of Political Orders is an excellent book in its own right and a fine conclusion to the trilogy of works Lebow began with 2003's The Tragic Vision.The book is wide ranging in breadth and depth, powerfully written, and well served by its sustained focus on the animating tensions that propel but also threaten modern political orders. Lebow argues a convincing and timely case in favour of an all too fragile and imperfect liberal-democratic order that has evolved to support human flourishing.'

Seán Molloy - University of Kent

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