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Political Thought and History
Essays on Theory and Method


  • Date Published: February 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521714068

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • World famous author
    • Compiles the major methodological statements in political thought over the last 40 years
    • Pocock is a massively influential thinker in the field of the history of ideas and so this is a very important work
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Although his writing demands a great deal of concentration … nowhere is it other than fresh, cogent and provocative. … is usefully illustrative, and offers insights that all who aspire to the study of intellectual history (in its broadest sense) can heed.' English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521714068
    • length: 298 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Political Thought as History:
    1. The history of political thought: a methodological enquiry
    2. Working on ideas in time
    3. Verbalizing a political act: towards a politics of speech
    4. Political ideas as historical events
    political philosophers as historical actors
    5. The reconstruction of discourse: towards the historiography of political thought
    6. The concept of a language and the metier d'historien: some considerations on practice
    7. Texts as events: reflections on the history of political thought
    8. Quentin Skinner: the history of politics and the politics of history
    Part II. History as Political Thought:
    9. The origins of study of the past: a comparative approach
    10. Time, institutions and action: an essay on traditions and their understanding
    11. The historian as political actor in polity, society and academy
    12. The politics of history: the subaltern and the subversive
    13. The politics of historiography.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Nature of History
  • Author

    J. G .A. Pocock, The Johns Hopkins University
    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), and Virtue, Commerce and History (1985). 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.

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