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Chapter

Cover Issues in Political Theory

1. Political obligation  

Keith Hyams

This chapter discusses the justifications for political obligation. The most important historical justification for political obligation is what is often called consent theory or contract theory. Consent theorists claim that we should obey the law because we have consented to do so. Meanwhile, the theorist H. L. A. Hart argues that if we accept a benefit, then it is only fair that we should reciprocate and give something back; if we enjoy the protection of police and armies, if we use roads, hospitals, schools, and other government-run services, then we should reciprocate by obeying the law. Other theorists argue that political obligation is something that we are bound by simply for being a member of a political community. If we cannot justify an obligation to obey the law, then we may have to adopt some form of philosophical anarchism — the view that we have no obligation to obey the law.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

9. Political Culture and Non-Western Political Ideas  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter begins by outlining the importance of political culture in structuring, but not determining, the behaviour of actors within individual political systems. It illustrates the persistence of its impact with the failure of Mao Zedong to eliminate traditional Chinese ways of thinking and create a wholly new political culture in the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand it cites fluctuations in Russian political culture over centuries to show that the perceived content of a particular political culture can be fundamentally contested and malleable, so that it does evolve. And it notes the recent claims of political leaders in Russia, China, and India, amongst others, that their nations’ historical achievements raise them to the status of ‘civilization states’. One feature of a nation’s political culture is the recurring trends of issues and preoccupations in political thinking there. Then it goes on to examine issues in thinking in non-Western countries, that structure political attitudes and political behaviour differently from the West. It begins by looking at traditional notions of legitimate political authority in other regions of the world, particularly Asia, that preceded the arrival of Western colonialists. These often assumed more ‘organic’ and more segmented communities, often based upon the social value and model of traditional families, than would be associated with Western individualist ones influenced by the legacy of the French revolution. Then it considers more recent non-Western political thinking, including renewed recent Russian nationalist enthusiasm for empire. It concludes with a survey of the diverse reception of liberalism in different regions of the world.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the European Union

6. The ‘Other’ European Communities and the Origins of the European Economic Community (the Early 1950s to the 1960s)  

This chapter focuses on the ‘other’ European communities and the origins of the European Economic Community (EEC). Negotiations over a plan for a European Defence Community (EDC) ran parallel to those over the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Connected with the EDC was a proposal to create a European Political Community (EPC) to provide democratic European structures for co-ordinating foreign policies. This chapter first considers the Pleven Plan for an EDC, before discussing the development of the EDC/EPC plan and the ultimate failure to reach agreement in 1954. It also analyses the Messina negotiations and the road to the Treaties of Rome. Finally, it looks at the experience of the other organization that was created at the same time as the EEC, the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which, like the ECSC, was institutionally merged with the EEC in 1967.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

1. Introduction  

Michelle Cini and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán

This chapter comprises a very brief introduction to European Union (EU) politics. It aims to help those students who are completely new to the EU by drawing attention to some general background information and context, which should help to make sense of the chapters that follow. To that end this introductory chapter begins by explaining what the EU is, why it was originally set up, and what the EU does. The chapter ends by explaining how the book is organized.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Political Philosophy

6. Communitarianism  

This chapter examines communitarianism and its central assumptions. It first considers two strands of communitarian thought: one camp argues that community should be seen as the source of principles of justice, whereas the other camp insists that community should play a greater role in the content of principles of justice. The chapter then explores the communitarian claim that the liberal ‘politics of rights’ should be abandoned for, or at least supplemented by, a ‘politics of the common good’. It also analyses the communitarian conception of the embedded self; two liberal accommodations of communitarianism, the so-called political liberalism and liberal nationalism; the communitarians’ ‘social thesis’, focusing on Charles Taylor’s belief that liberal neutrality cannot sustain the social conditions for the exercise of autonomy; and the connection between nationalism and cosmopolitanism. The chapter concludes with an overview of the politics of communitarianism.

Chapter

Cover Introducing Political Philosophy

14. Immigration and the Political Community  

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter argues against policies that restrict immigration. It contends that states should have open borders that allow an individual to move between political communities. The chapter begins by defending a presumption in favour of open borders that appeals to the value of freedom of movement. It then responds to those who deny that freedom of movement is sufficiently important to generate such a presumption, as well as to those who insist that states enjoy a prerogative over whether or not to grant an individual the opportunity to migrate. The chapter considers a range of objections that emphasize how open borders can jeopardize the security, economy, and culture of receiving states, showing that a proper concern for these values is consistent with borders that are largely (even if not fully) open.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

17. Burke  

David Boucher

This chapter examines Edmund Burke's political thought. It first provides a short biography of Burke before discussing the three main interpretations of him: first, as a utilitarian; second, in relation to natural law; and the third, which attempts to bring together the two antithetical interpretations. It argues that even though Burke has elements of utilitarianism in his thought, and although he subscribes to natural law and universal principles, both somehow have to coincide in the traditions and institutional practices of a community. On the question of political obligation, although he uses the language of contract, it is clear that Burke does not subscribe to its central tenets. The chapter proceeds by exploring Burke's views on sovereignty, constitutionalism, colonialism, and slavery.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

2. The Sophists  

Peter Nicholson

This chapter deals with the Sophists, a new kind of professional intellectual and teacher in ancient Greece who debated fundamental questions concerning human life, and particularly morality and politics. The Sophists were an important element in the major intellectual awakening, or enlightenment, in roughly the second half of the fifth century BCE. The chapter first provides a biographical background on three Sophists — Protagoras, Thrasymachus, and Antiphon — before analysing their political ideas on justice, noting the range of diffrent opinions and how they all differ from Plato. The discussion focuses on Protagoras' notion of the politics of the community, Thrasymachus' emphasis on the politics of the individual, and Antiphon's claim that justice is a convention opposed to nature. The chapter also explains how Plato sought to reconcile the conflicts of interest between the community and the individual which the Sophists highlighted.

Chapter

Cover Political Ideologies

6. Nationalism  

Mark Langan

This chapter examines the key ideas and concepts of nationalism as ideology. It first defines nationalism and considers how the nation is socially constructed as an imagined community. It then analyses the practical implications of nationalist ideology in terms of the functioning of the nation-state (and of nationalist political parties). It also looks at the ‘rational’ form of nationalism (that is, the civic variety) and its ‘sticky’ connections to liberalism and socialism; the link between nationalism and politics; and the relationship between nationalism and globalization. The rational and somewhat pragmatic nationalism is compared with the ‘irrational’ and emotional variant found within both conservatism and fascism. The chapter concludes by highlighting key lessons regarding nationalism as ideology. Case studies relating to Scottish national identity, Brexit, Chinese nationalism, and ethnic nationalism in Russia are presented.

Chapter

Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

3. The German Problem and European Integration  

John R. Gillingham

This chapter examines how European integration contributed to the so-called German Problem — the problem of managing Germany's political rehabilitation and economic resurgence after World War II. The achievement rested not only on the Schuman Plan and the ensuing European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), but also on cooperation among French and German coal and steel producers in the interwar period. The adoption by the new Federal Republic of homegrown economically liberal policies, which complemented and implemented the wartime vision of American postwar policy, was another decisive factor. The chapter first provides an overview of the postwar framework for Germany's economic recovery and political rehabilitation, focusing on the Marshall Plan, the German economic boom, and Jean Monnet's role in shaping postwar Europe. It also considers the evolution of French Ruhrpolitik, the Schuman Plan negotiations, and the eclipse of Monnetism and the founding of the European Economic Community.