I've come to a point where I feel my grasp of political theory is tenuous at best, and highly warped by American news media. Does /lit/ have any books to recommend for a history of political theory and or books about specific ideologies? By biggest confusion is the difference between the American left and the rest of the world's left. I ask here instead of /ppl/ because I know I'll at least get a better discussion that doesn't devolve into a Mein Kampf discussion thread.
Hobbes, not Locke, wrote Leviathan.
Yes it is an extremely important piece of political philosophy. It justifies the state, and therefore law, using quite a few natural laws derived from our natural states as humans.
Read Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Machiavelli etc.
Marx is also an important political theorist but I would advise against becoming a hardcore Marxist and trying to see everything in the framework of class warfare
>Yes it is an extremely important piece of political philosophy. It justifies the state, and therefore law, using quite a few natural laws derived from our natural states as humans.
He forgets that the society comes first, not the individual.
Leviathan is Hobbes', not Locke's. You should read both, they complement each other.
When it comes to an understanding of the actual working of a party system (as the one in the US), check:
-Who governs, Robert Dahl
-Two faces of power, Bachrach and Baratz (journal article)
-Political parties, Robert Michels (if you only read one from this list, read this)
-The power elite, C. Wright Mills (I don't agree with this one -its methods are too sociological for me-, but people say it's a classic so)
Source: Second semester Econ student who took two optional courses on Political Science and Party Politics.
>Yeah I have friends who are all crazy about Marxist class struggle. I get the appeal, but I feel like Marxist theory's time came and went.
You said you wanted to learn more about political theory, right? That means leaving your ignorance at the doorstep. Approach it neutrally and make your own opinion that hasn't been spoonfed to you previously.
I did a pretty rigorous political theory session with a professor who was mentoring me. Here's what we read in order:
>rousseau's 2nd discourse
>montesquieu's spirt of law
>adam smith's theory of moral sentiments
>kant's groundwork to the metaphysics of morals
>kant's political essays
>hegel's philosophy of right
>marx's critique of hegel's philosophy of right
i feel like there may have been one or two others as well, but this is a solid start
I didn't say I completely disregarded Marx, nor that class struggle isn't a thing (and an important thing), just that ignoring cross-class interests and other societal dynamics, as hardcore Marxist theory does is a reductionism as bad as any other. Read Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation, read Barrington Moore's Social origins, and, yes, read The Capital, and understand class dynamics beyond >muh proletariats vs capitalists
I'll admit my understanding of politics isn't the best, but I kind of stand by my statement. I'm not against it by any means, like I said I understand the appeal, but the negative associations with Marxist ideology, correct or not, are there. A proletarian uprising is called for to overthrow the bourgeois power structure, yet the only people who are real Marxists these days are mostly intellectuals and college leftist. The proletariat are completely against communism, thanks in part to western propaganda, and they are the most necessary part of the movement.
Plato - Republic
Aristotle - The Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics
Machiavelli - The Prince
Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan
John Locke - Second Treatise on Government
Montesquieu - The Spirit of the Laws
Adam Smith - The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations (esp. Book III)
Immanuel Kant - 'Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose', 'An Answer o the Question: What is Enlightenment?', and 'On the Common Saying: That May be Correct in Theory...'
Edmund Burke - Reflections on the Revolution in France
G. W. F. Hegel - Elements of the Philosophy of Right
Carl Schmitt - The Concept of the Political
Michael Oakeshott - 'Rationalism in Politics' and 'The Tower of Babel'
John Rawls - A Theory of Justice
Robert Nozick - Anarchy, State, and Utopia
F. A. Hayek - Law, Legislation, and Liberty
Read these in order. And then seek out intellectual historical works on them or their authors. Don't just read political theory to be told how you should think: read it to understand how others have constructed arguments to answer historically particular questions, and learn to do your own thinking.
This thread has loads of good recommendations.
But I'd add few, that I add in almost every political philosophy /whatever rec. thread.
All three books by Michel Foucault: Society must be Defended, Security Territory Population and Birth of Biopolitcs.
Also to get a different look at Machiavelli, check Discourses on first ten books by Livy.