GS05 Political Theory and Political Philosophy

Session Code
Session Chairs
Prof. Yves Schemeil

Political theory occupies a large territory in political science. As a method, it combines logic and ethics. As a set of objects, it links reflections about concepts to debates about values. While some authors indulge in formal theory (rational or not) others look towards normative (if not prescriptive) theory. There is nonetheless common ground between ‘political theory’ (i.e. ‘philosophical’) and the ‘theory of politics’ (i.e. ‘scientific’): they both share a taste for modeling. The first lists the conditions required to reach a stage of political life that could be ‘fairer’ and ‘freer’; the second plays with variables tracing ‘explained’ choices to ‘explanatory’ causes. 

When new nationalism becomes an issue of concern in the real world while Non-Western thought is retrieved from the past, could these two ways of doing political theory be reconciled? Since political theorists have long discarded old chauvinism on the one hand and Non-Western reactions to westernization on the other hand, can they now build a new vision of nationalism as a rational answer to urgent troubles instead of considering it as a nativist branch of populism? How far approaches to sovereignty may be enriched or impoverished by the surge of neo-nationalist thought everywhere? To which extent the growing pressure of xenophobic or anti-globalization ideologies modify current theories of States and sovereignty? Is neo-nationalist thought compatible with democratic prerequisites such as a free contradictory public debate? Is it reactively driven by a sense of injustice or proactively motivated by a quest for fairness?