“An outstanding study of twentieth-century political thought, conceptually challenging but accessibly written. Tracy B. Strong’s unmistakable voice is at once lyrical and sober, and Politics without Vision is erudite and illuminating at every turn.”
Patchen Markell, University of Chicago
“A marvelous tour de force brimming with intellectual excitement. With extraordinarily impressive scholarship, Tracy B. Strong carefully constructs the historical context of each of the thinkers he engages, while simultaneously keeping a focus on the urgent goal of accumulating pieces to the puzzle as to what sense we might be able to give to ‘the political’ in a world where we must think, as Arendt said, ‘without banisters.’ Not to be missed.”
Stephen K. White, University of Virginia
Politics without Vision
Thinking without a Banister in the Twentieth Century
Tracy B. Strong
|Publication Date: May 21, 2012 ||Cloth $40.00 • £26.00 |
|UK Publication Date: May 28, 2012 ||978-0-226- 77746-7 |
From Plato through the nineteenth century, the West could draw on comprehensive political visions to guide government and society. Now, for the first time in more than two thousand years, Tracy B. Strong contends, we have lost our foundational supports. In the words of Hannah Arendt, the state of political thought in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has left us “thinking without a banister.”
Politics without Vision takes up the thought of seven influential thinkers, each of whom attempted to construct a solution to this problem: Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, Lenin, Schmitt, Heidegger, and Arendt. All of these theorists shared the conviction that the institutions and practices of liberalism are inadequate to the demands of the present times. In examining their thought, Strong acknowledges the evil that some of their ideas served to foster, but argues that these were not necessarily the only paths their explorations could have taken. By uncovering the turning points in their thought—and the paths not taken—Strong develops a political theory that can help explain the mistakes of the past while furthering the democratic impulse. Confronting the widespread belief that political thought is on the decline, Strong puts forth a brilliant counterargument that in fact it has endured—without the benefit of outside support.
Tracy B. Strong is distinguished professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author or editor of many books, including Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration and The Many and the One.
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