This chapter examines the extent to which environmentalism has emerged as a viable ideology in its own right. It begins by charting the origins of the rise of the environment as an issue in relation to global and national political systems as well as the point at which it might be possible to identify the emergence of a distinct Green agenda. It then analyses the range of environmental thinking and the embedded critique, ideal, and programme that defines Green ideology, with particular emphasis on classical liberalism and neo-liberalism, Green conservatism, eco-socialism, social ecology, and eco-feminism. It also explores the impact that Green policies have had in shaping the policy agenda and concludes by looking at the main challenges that face the consolidation of Green thinking and action. To illustrate these various issues, the chapter presents case studies, one of which relates to global climate change.
This chapter explains why the state and sovereignty are relevant to the study of politics. It first provides an empirical typology of the state, ranging from the minimalist night-watchman state, approximated to by nineteenth-century capitalist regimes at one end of the spectrum, to the totalitarian state of the twentieth century at the other. It then examines the distribution of power in the state by focusing on three major theories of the state: pluralism, elitism, Marxism, as well as New Right theory. The chapter seeks to demonstrate that the theories of the state identified can also be critiqued normatively, so that pluralism, for instance, can be challenged for its divisive character, as exemplified by identity politics. It then goes on to review different views about what the role of the state ought to be, from the minimalist state recommended by adherents of classical liberalism, to the pursuit of distinctive social objectives as recommended, in particular, by proponents of communitarianism. Finally, it discusses empirical and normative challenges to the state and asks whether the state’s days are numbered.
8. Reviewing the ‘classical’ legacy
Left–right politics in the age of ideology
This chapter examines the legacy of the ‘classical’ ideologies in terms of their European origins, expansion, and dominance. Classical ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, and socialism can be understood as contrasting responses to the intellectual, social, and economic transformations known as the Enlightenment and modernization, especially industrialization and the rise of capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The chapter first considers the idea that liberalism constitutes a dominant ideology before discussing the relationship between ideological principles, party politics, and statecraft. It then analyses the relationship between the classical ideologies in terms of the Enlightenment and the left–right conception of ideological debate. It also introduces the notion of ‘new’ ideologies and the extent to which the dominance of the classical ideologies can be seen in the character of the political parties that have dominated Western democracies.