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The Political Theory of Political ThinkingThe Anatomy of a Practice$
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Michael Freeden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568031.001.0001

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Visions and Prescriptions: Temptations and Failures of Political Thinking

Visions and Prescriptions: Temptations and Failures of Political Thinking

(p.236) 7 Visions and Prescriptions: Temptations and Failures of Political Thinking
The Political Theory of Political Thinking

Michael Freeden

Oxford University Press

The first part of the chapter explores the centrality of future-oriented practices in political thinking. The construction of longer-term political visions and the preparing of shorter-term political plans are endemic to those thought-practices and are regarded as a main responsibility of government. Examples of post-war reconstruction are offered alongside utopian imaginative exercises as morale-boosting trajectories either within reach or as deflections of frustration with the present. Scientific planning too has played a part in the forward-looking dynamics of social life. The second part examines inevitable failures of political thinking with regard to future-orientation: the failure to deliver ideationally what the political theory in question has itself undertaken to deliver. Second, the failure to take on board the constraints imposed on a theory by the features of political concepts. Third, the failure of the epistemologies and ideologies underlying political theorizing to confer sufficient conclusiveness on the theories emerging from them.

Keywords:   future, visions, planning, utopia, failure, political theory

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