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Sheldon Wolin on Political Theory - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 174
Political philosophy/Wolin/Dagger: (...) worries about 'the erosion of the distinctively political' animated Sheldon Wolin's influential Politics and Vision (1960(1): 290). Like Arendt, Wolin's complaint is that 'the political' has been displaced by 'the social' in the modern world. >Arendt/Dagger.
Wolin: What we call 'politics' is little more than the squabbling of groups seeking to protect and promote their interests, with devastating consequences for civic life. 'There is substantial evidence,' Wolin remarks, that participation in public affairs is regarded with indifference by vast numbers of members. The average citizen seems to find the exercise of political rights burden-
some, boring, and often lacking in significance.
Citizenship/Wolin: to be a citizen does not appear an important role nor political participation an intrinsic good . By reducing citizenship to a cheap commodity, democracy has seemingly contributed to the dilution of politics. (1960(1): 353)
Dagger: In retrospect, then, Pocock's Machiavellian Moment(2) appears to have brought together and supplied a name for two previously distinct bodies of scholarship: the efforts of historians to recover a form of political thought that seemed to be all but lost; and the efforts of political theorists, notably Arendt and Wolin, to remind their contemporaries of the value of the public life of the self-governing citizen.


1. Wolin, Sheldon (1960) Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought. Boston: Little, Brown.
2. Pocock, J. G. A. (1975) The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic
Republican Tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Dagger, Richard 2004. „Communitarianism and Republicanism“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Wolin, Sheldon
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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