A World History of Political Thought


A World History of Political Thought

9781786435521 Edward Elgar Publishing
J. Babb, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Japan
Publication Date: 2018 ISBN: 978 1 78643 552 1 Extent: 544 pp
A World History of Political Thought is an outstanding and innovative work with profound significance for the study of the history of political thought, providing a wide-ranging, detailed and global overview of political thought from 600 BC to the 21st century. Treating both western and non-western systems of political thought as equal and placing them as they should be; side by side.

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A World History of Political Thought is an innovative work with profound significance for the study of the history of political thought, providing a global overview of political thought from 600 BC to the twenty-first century. It treats both Western and non-Western systems of political thought as equally worthy of consideration.

Outlining a methodological approach to enhance the study of comparative political thought, this book covers key political thinkers throughout history, analyzing the works and influence of both men and women around the world. With its chronological narrative of the development of ideas and contrasting the key concepts and the contexts in which they grew, this history unfolds as a readable and engaging story of different civilizations as they evolved and, in an increasingly connected world, competed.

Constituting a significant advancement in the inclusiveness and internationalization of political thought and global history, this book will change the way the field of political thought is approached. For students seeking an introduction to global political thought this is an invaluable tool, and the methodological discussion is essential reading for those seeking to engage in comparative analysis of both historical and contemporary political thought.
Critical Acclaim
‘In his ambitious A World History of Political Thought, Babb locates the “foundational thinkers” about politics between 600 and 400 BCE. His key figures were Buddha, Confucius and Socrates, though we know most about the thinking of these three remarkable individuals through the writing of their followers, not themselves. The first identifiable “schools” of political thought, Babb suggests, emerged between 400 and 250 BCE, though he wisely warns that it is essential to be wary of “neat classification” distorting the “messy reality of the emergence of ideas”.
Ken Booth, International Relations

‘This is an amazing book. It is a wide-ranging and often fairly detailed survey of political thought around the world that genuinely takes a global standpoint. It is not that the Western tradition is front and center and then occasionally other views enter; the author engages with the various traditions on their own terms and puts them side by side. There is no book out there that is remotely like this. The fields of political theory and political philosophy will benefit enormously from having this book available.’
– Mathias Risse, Harvard University, US

‘This book is the first attempt to cover all the world''s literate cultures in a single history of political thought. As such, it is a significant achievement.’
– Tony Black, University of Dundee, UK
Contents: Preface 1. The Methodology of Comparative History of Political Thought Part I: Comparative Studies 2. The Foundational Thinkers (600-400 BC) 3. The First “Schools” of Political Thought (400-250 BC) 4. Political Thought of the First Empires (250 BC-200 AD) 5. Metaphysics, “Religion” and the Decline of Empires (200-500) 6. The Integration of “Religion” and Political Thought (500-1000 7. Late “Medieval” Political Thought (1000-1300) 8. Renaissance and Revival (1300-1540) Part II: The Interdependence of Modernities 9. Popular Religious Revolt, Radical Reform and State Building (1450-1670) 10. Enlightenment and Historicism (1670-1790) 11. Revolution, Romanticism and Reform (1760-1860) 12. Imperialism and Liberalism (1820-1920) 13. Social Unrest and the Rise of the Left (1810-1930) 14. Ultra-nationalism, Fascism and Philosophy (1880-1950) 15. Anti-Colonialism and Neo-Liberalism (1920-1980) 16. Shifting Foundations and Return to Origins (1980-2015) Index
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