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Radicalizing Realism in Political Theory

Prinz, Janosch (2015) Radicalizing Realism in Political Theory. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis intervenes into the current debates about realism in political theory. Realism is a new challenge to the liberal mainstream in political theory. However, the extent to which realism, in its heterogeneity, actually has the potential to pose such a challenge, has thus far remained largely unexplored. The thesis offers the first differentiated assessment of this potential of realism and, finding it limited, embarks on a radicalization of realism. Having established a critical foil through a political reading of Rawls’ Political Liberalism, I divide contributions to realism into those who aim to revise, reform and reject liberal-normative political theory. This ‘ordering perspective’ of realism allows analyzing the thus far neglected similarities between realists and their liberal-normative opponents. This analysis suggests that the less critical subdivisions of realism limit themselves to be internal correctives to the liberal mainstream. However, even the most critical and challenging of the prevalent subdivisions of realism, which I call ‘vision of politics’ realism, remains caught in tensions between realist and liberal-normative commitments. In reaction to this limitation, my re-interpretation of Raymond Geuss’ realism as a modification of early Critical Theory through Foucauldian elements provides the basis for the development of a radical realism. This radical realism departs radically from the prevalent understandings of liberal-normative political theory and transcends the limitations of realism through changing the relationship between political theory and its political context. Radical realism brings the tensions and entanglements between normative and descriptive aspects of political theorizing into view and bases its critical purchase and practical orientation on the diagnostic examination of the political context. A discussion of the criteria for legitimacy in public justification liberalism, realism and radical realism finally ties together the argumentation of the thesis and offers a reflection on its bearing on a key question of contemporary political theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.640673
Depositing User: Janosch Prinz
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2015 12:07
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:09
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8367

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