Ecological science, which studies the relationships between organisms and their environments, developed from natural history. Aristotle’s teleological chain of being and detailed description modeled natural history until the eighteenth century. Linnaeus and Buffon replaced Aristotelian categories with new criteria for classification, leading the way to Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Darwinian evolution depended on environmental factors and led to the birth of ecological science by the end of the nineteenth century. The ecosystem concept emphasizes populations and systems rather than individuals. Case studies, of wolves and fish show the range of modern ecological science. Anthropogenic changes to the environment have led to extinction and endangered species. Attempts to meliorate human influence include rewilding and synthetic biology.
Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka
Western political theorists have largely ignored the animal question, assuming that animals have no place in our theories of democracy, citizenship, membership, sovereignty, and the public good. Conversely, animal ethicists have largely ignored political theory, assuming that we can theorize the moral status and moral rights of animals without drawing on the categories and concepts of political theory. This chapter traces the history of this separation between animals and political theory, examines the resulting intellectual blind spots for animal ethics, and reviews recent attempts to bring the two together. Situating animal rights within political theory has the potential to identify new models of justice in human-animal relations, and to open up new areas of scholarship and research.
Andrew Brandel and Shalini Randeria
This chapter examines how anthropological work on the state and political power not only complements, but also contests the political scientific conception of limited statehood. The two disciplines are no longer distinguished by the methods they employ, or their analytical dispositions, or the regions of the world where they conduct research. Here it is suggested instead that anthropology continues to be defined by its commitment to challenging universalizing social scientific assumptions on the basis of ethnography that theorizes from everyday experience. Drawing on examples both from the global South and North, we delineate how anthropology nuances various conceptions of limits of state power, particularly those that structure the binaries of West and non-West, public and private, state and non-state, formal and informal, national and trans- or supranational, on which much of the discussion of state capacity, or its partial absence, is predicated.
This article first discusses the term “authoritarian regimes” and makes a claim for studying such regimes. An overview of the young but burgeoning research on authoritarian regimes structures the field in eight thematic clusters: (1) typological efforts and regime characteristics such as coalition formation and origins, (2) institutionalist approaches, (3) state-society relations beyond formal institutions, (4) repression, (5) political economy approaches, (6) international dimensions, (7) performance, and (8) linking the concepts of regimes and states. Although this wave of research has been extremely prolific, it still remains unsystematic and disparate in various regards. It is therefore necessary for this field of research to consolidate and thereby to contribute to genuine knowledge accumulation.
D. Clifton Mark
Axel Honneth’s The Struggle for Recognition develops an empirically anchored theory of social conflict based on Hegel’s theory of recognition. In this book, he argues for an intersubjective view of identity and a moral interpretation of social conflict. According to Honneth, social struggles may be normatively evaluated by the extent to which they provide the preconditions for self-realization in the form of three distinct types of recognition: love, respect, and social esteem. Honneth’s normative ideal aims to occupy a middle ground between overly abstract Kantian theories and potentially parochial communitarian theories. Although the book has been subject to a variety of criticisms, it provides the most systematic and ambitious social theory of recognition available today.
Ruth A. Miller
This chapter discusses the scholarly treatment of the term biopolitics from the mid-1970s to the present, and it describes how feminist theorists have influenced and also departed from this treatment. In the process, it addresses two questions. The first is how feminist theorists have redefined biopolitics as an affirmative or at least value-neutral concept that can help scholars come to terms with recent technological and environmental variations on democratic engagement. The second is how, having reconceived biopolitics in this way, feminist theorists have developed new approaches to classical questions in the fields of gender and sexuality studies. Feminist interpretations of biopolitics, for example, have added depth and nuance to ongoing conversations concerning women’s identity, embodiment, and reproductive activity in modern and contemporary democracies.
Jana Hönke and Markus-Michael Müller
This chapter offers an integrative reading of the dispersed debates on brokerage, intermediation, and translation as a mode of governance in areas of limited statehood (ALS). It highlights the contribution as well as shortcomings of actor-centred approaches to brokerage and their focus on power-maximizing actors, while stressing the important insights of translation approaches. In addition, the chapter brings the dominant, more micro-centred research on brokerage in local and domestic governance into dialogue with work on the often neglected transnational dimension of brokerage. It is argued that, far from being a phenomenon exclusively located in ALS, brokerage is at work, and shapes the very global policies directed at ALS, and the international organizations and institutions that produce them.
Tanja A. Börzel and Nicole Deitelhoff
Business has become an important governor in areas of limited statehood (ALS). While the shadow of hierarchy is not necessary to incentivize companies, their contributions to governance still seem to require a minimum of statehood to be effective and legitimate. These findings point to a dilemma for (business) governance in ALS: companies are most likely to provide collective goods and services beyond their purview where those are needed the least to compensate for the lack of state governance. Yet, the literature has mostly focused on multinational companies that have their headquarters in democracies with consolidated statehood. Future research should focus on business in the non-OECD world to explore whether and to what degree consolidated statehood is necessary for governance by business to be effective and legitimate.
In many of his political writings, Carl Schmitt seeks to render conflict and struggle visible and recognizable. He wages a metapolitical struggle against depoliticizing types of spirit and for the political. The meaning of history, as this chapter shows, is a crucial terrain for this metapolitical struggle: friends and enemies are symbolized and rendered (in)visible through historical discourses. The analysis demonstrates that Schmitt strongly rejects representations of history that tend to obfuscate its political nature, such as ideologies of progress or the idea of repetition in history. Instead, he advocates a sober and profane image of history, acknowledging its plural and contingent nature. Paradoxically, a figure of theological provenance, the katechon, is the minimal rest of an eschatological vision that Schmitt considers necessary to keep history and theology apart and to maintain an open and profane understanding of history.
This chapter reconstructs the intellectual-historical background to Carl Schmitt’s well-known analysis of the problem of dictatorship and the powers of the Reichspräsident under the Weimar Constitution. The analysis focuses both on Schmitt’s wartime propaganda work, concerning a distinction between the state of siege and dictatorship, as well as on his more general analysis of modern German liberalism. It demonstrates why Schmitt attempted to produce a critical history of the history of modern political thought with the concept of dictatorship at its heart and how he came to distinguish between commissarial and sovereign forms of dictatorship to attack liberalism and liberal democracy. The chapter also focuses on the conceptual reworking of the relationship between legitimacy and dictatorship that Schmitt produced by interweaving the political thought of the Abbé Sieyès and the French Revolution into his basic rejection of contemporary liberal and socialist forms of politics.
Challenges to the idea of the human raised in posthumanist inquiry present both problems and opportunities for understanding and organizing an environmental politics able to transform environmental degradation and address global climate change. This essay explains how arguments about human embodiment, symbiosis, and human embeddedness in social and material habitats have led to a reconceptualization of the human as well as the environment. Next, the essay elaborates two specific approaches—actor network theory and object-oriented ontology—through which the conceptual diminution or displacement of the human elucidates how activities in our daily lives ramify into environmental degradation and global climate change. It explains how the enormity of these problems makes it difficult to imagine how to redress them politically, leading to political apathy, and it makes some tentative proposals about how to overcome these difficulties.
This chapter reviews Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self. The book displays Taylor’s mastery not only of the history of philosophy, but of theology, poetry, and art. He also shares Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s commitment to synthesizing competing and conflicting elements of the culture. Unlike Hegel, however, Taylor does not see philosophy as the highest and truest expression of the human mind or spirit; rather he sees the artists—the poets most especially—as the ones who “can put us in contact with” what we as living and thinking humans need to be in contact with. This chapter examines Taylor’s arguments as articulated in Sources of the Self, especially his view that human beings are self-interpreting and self-misinterpreting animals and that self-interpretation has ontological significance. It also considers what Taylor identifies as a “phenomenology” of human action, his theory of morality and identity, and his concept of the “punctual self.”
This chapter examines modern Chinese political ideologies beginning in the late nineteenth century, as intellectuals began to articulate China’s place in a global order centred outside its own borders. It eschews a teleological view of China’s ideological development, in which the present communist regime is assumed to be the inevitable culmination of the past, in favour of detailing ongoing contestations about Chinese history, identity, and modernization. The chapter surveys early responses of the ‘self-strengthening’ school to nineteenth-century Western imperialism, going on to discuss the deepening of Chinese commitments to Western learning and the totalistic critique of ‘traditional’ culture by thinkers associated with the May Fourth Movement. The continuity of these ideas is discussed in relation to key contemporary ideological developments on China and Taiwan, including: Chinese democratic thought and human rights; ideologies of revolution; Communism; contemporary liberal and New Left thought; and New Confucianism.
Christian Democracy is an evolving concept. This chapter discusses the long journey of the term in political debate. Considered at the beginning unacceptable by the Popes, as an offspring of the ‘liberty of critics’ toward authority, it was later accepted step by step as a mean of inserting Christians (mainly Catholics) into the frame of modern constitutionalism. After a period in which the contrast with the liberal view was still retained, catholic political thought turned to a positive approach towards Western constitutionalism. After 1945 political parties labelled as ‘Christian Democratic’ were protagonists of the rebuilding of some European countries and the Popes recognized that presence as positive and coherent with its orthodoxy. In a sense Christian Democracy became the new way of dealing with the problem of church and state relations. Matters were more complicated from the viewpoint of the Reformed Churches. In the more recent cases one may also find a ‘social doctrine’ even if it is quite different from the official Catholic attitude of the Vatican authorities towards social problems.
This chapter provides a review of the main themes and debates in the literature on green citizenship. It is framed by a question of depoliticization: whether the concept has become too blunted to address the challenges presented by neo-liberalism and the contemporary environmental problematique. The discussion identifies important insights from radical democratic, feminist, and postcolonial theories that have thus far been marginalized from the development of the concept in mainstream environmental political thought. It is argued that these insights—about corporeality, intersectionality, social reproduction, and performativity—suggest a more transformative understanding of political subjectivity that might, in turn, lead to a re-politicization of green citizenship.
This chapter discusses the treatment of civilization as a concept and phenomenon in feminist scholarship from the late 1970s until the present. How have feminist scholars understood and approached civilization and its relation to gender and/or women? In what ways have these interventions contributed to and challenged more mainstream scholarship on civilization, particularly on the West and Islam? The chapter begins with a discussion of feminist treatments of civilizations as bounded sociocultural entities and the role of women and men therein. It then continues with a longer analysis of the alternative feminist understanding of civilizations as discourses that are contextually unfolding. In this understanding, gender and the status of women are implicated in the production as well as challenging of civilizational boundaries and hierarchies. The chapter ends with suggestions for the direction of future research, including a call to more directly engage central civilizations scholarship that is inattentive to gender.
David A. Lake
The governance problem arises when society lacks an ‘ultimate’ authority able to regulate competition and limit conflict between social actors. A variant of the cycling problem in social choice theory, the governance problem can be potentially solved by one of several modes. This chapter focuses on two related modes, coercion and trusteeship, in which a dominant group within society or an external power, respectively, imposes a policy and set of institutions on society. The first section examines the governance problem in areas of limited statehood. The second section outlines the role for the state in solving the governance problem, and how states emerged as successful actors in the now consolidated states of Europe. The third section explores coercion and trusteeship as solutions to the governance problem. It concludes with the somewhat pessimistic argument that trusteeship, though perhaps preferred on normative grounds, is unlikely to succeed in building strong, consolidated states.
This article discusses collective action theory and focuses on three broad tropics. It first examines the growing and extensive theoretical literature that posits a host of structural variables presumed to affect the likelihood of individuals achieving collective action to overcome social dilemmas. It studies how a theory of boundedly rational, norm-based human behaviour is a better foundation for explaining collective action than a model of maximizing material payoffs to self. The article also discusses the link between structural measures and core individual relationships. It ends by reflecting on the challenge that political scientists face in testing collective action theory in light of the large number of variables posited to affect outcomes.