The Routledge Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Political Thinkers

The Routledge Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Political Thinkers

The Routledge Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Political Thinkers

The Routledge Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Political Thinkers


This edtion has been revised and extended to include eleven new entries on Berlin, Chomsky, Derrida, Rorty and many others. Comprising 169 entries, it also includes non-Western political thinkers.


This book is a direct response to those who need an informed, reliable and ready guide to the ideas that have influenced political activity and shaped political thinking in the twentieth century. Careful consideration has been given to developing an approach that will be the most useful to readers while at the same time encouraging them to explore the subject further.

It is our firm conviction that most people identify an idea, concept or system of thought with a particular individual. With this in mind we adopted a biographical rather than a thematic approach. Each major entry includes biographical material relevant to understanding the political ideas of the person under consideration, a brief discussion of those ideas and a short and thereby manageable list of their most important writings as well as a selection of commentaries.

The process of inclusion and exclusion is not only difficult but sensitive. Those included fall roughly into three groups: those with ideas who have actively engaged in politics; those whose reflections have influenced political movements and activity; and those whose writings have enhanced our understanding. For the first group of thinkers, whose ideas were clearly secondary to their political activity in significance, we have emphasized biographical data; but for the most part the entries are primarily short essays in the history of ideas.

The inclusion of both theorists and practitioners is not the only way in which this reference work is special. We have focused exclusively on the twentieth century and in doing so have deliberately moved beyond the boundaries and traditions of Western political thought. Not only have we included important non-Western political theorists but also those whose ideas have influenced new movements based on ethnicity, gender and ecological concerns. Finally, in order to achieve what we believe to be a unique and better balanced work of reference, we have recruited a wider field of expert contributors.

The second edition includes new entries on thinkers whose ideas have grown in influence as we approach the millennium. Since it is also an enlarged edition we have been able to respond positively to the recommendations of our colleagues and critics by correcting some important omissions, rewriting and expanding original entries and updating bibliographies.

Phoebe Schreiner was instrumental in the preparation of this edition, but as before, the editors happily accept exclusive responsibility for whatever biases persist.



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