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Canon Controversies in Political Thought

Two Theories of Influence

Authors: Welburn, Dominic

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  • Demonstrates how a more historically-driven conceptual analysis of influence is needed
  • Defends the Orrian model over the Nietzschean to meet the challenging diversity of political theories in the twenty-first century
  • Argues that there is no extra-canonical ground from which to dismiss particular canons to the benefit of the Western canon
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-41361-3
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About this book

This book explores the meaning of 'influence', which has played a central role in the formation of the canon, or tradition, of Western political thought. Via a critical overview of the relative fortunes of influence studies in the history of political thought, literary theory, and – at times – the history of art and poetry, it is possible to identify a dominant theory of the term. Nietzschean and ‘emanational’ in nature, thanks largely to the work of Harold Bloom, this particular theory views influence as mere power and represents a broadly accepted meaning in twentieth century thought. Canons or traditions of thought came to be institutions in themselves reflecting prevalent social and political inequalities. To be sure, a theory of influence as power came to be seen as complicit in arbitrary canon formation, across a range of disciplines. The book argues, ultimately, that a second theory of influence, imported from Mary Orr’s work on intertextuality, affords a rival perspective and a more positive, intergenerational meaning of influence. Orr’s ‘braided rope’ theory of influence allows for the development of a plurality of canons each capable of constructing new histories for a variety of epistemic communities. The existence of agonistic, rival canons presents pedagogical questions for all teachers of political theory, but one that can be potentially navigated by a new understanding of influence, in the Orrian tradition.

About the authors

Dominic Welburn taught political theory for ten years at the universities of Hull, Leeds, York, Oxford Brookes, and Birmingham. He is now based at Bradford University, UK.

Reviews

“In this well-written and critically informed book, Welburn reviews how past political thinkers are connected. He invites us to re-think the question of influence in the history of political thought.” (Gary Browning, Professor of Political Thought, Oxford Brookes University, UK)

“This is an excellent study. It achieves an impressive feat of synthesis of existing writing on the ‘influence problem’ in the history of thought and, in so doing, makes influence speak to very many of the concerns of the present day. By beginning with the linguistic ambiguities of the word ‘influence’ – as verb, as noun – Welburn manages to unlock some persisting puzzles. He concludes by demonstrating that re-thinking influence should matter to politics, as well as method. The human virtues which Welburn finds vital to carrying out inquiry into influence that would be profitable – such as humility, openness, groundedness – are well embodied in his own efforts.” (Richard Shorten, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Birmingham, UK)

“This is a timely and perceptive account of the positive role of ‘influence’ in political thought. Dominic Welburn engages with a range of studies in literary and philosophical theory to defend canonicity as essential to, rather than the antithesis of, originality. He provides a refreshing defence of the Western tradition, albeit alongside rival canons as expressions of different political imaginations.” (Julia Stapleton, Professor of Political Thought, Durham University, UK)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $44.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-41361-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-41360-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Canon Controversies in Political Thought
Book Subtitle
Two Theories of Influence
Authors
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Pivot
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-41361-3
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-41361-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-41360-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VII, 136
Topics

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