The imperial origins of social and political thought

Jahn, Beate (2017) The imperial origins of social and political thought. Political Power and Social Theory, 32. pp. 9-35. ISSN 0198-8719

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The attempt to recover the international origins of social and political thought is motivated by the unsatisfactory fragmentation of modern knowledge – by its failure to account for the intimate connections between theory and history in general and its international dimension in particular – and seeks to overcome these divides. This article provides an analysis of the theory/history divide and its role for the fragmentation of modern knowledge. Theoretically, it shows, this divide is rooted in, and reproduced by, the epistemic foundations of modern knowledge. Historically, the modern episteme arises from a crisis of imperial politics in the 18th century. This analysis suggests that theory, history, and the international are products rather than origins of modern social and political thought. These historical origins thus do not provide the basis for more integrated forms of knowledge. They do, however, reveal how the fragmentation of knowledge itself simultaneously serves and obscures the imperialist dimension of modern politics.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2016 13:17
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2021 17:31

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