Political Theory
An Encyclopedia of Contemporary and Classic Terms
by Scott John Hammond
November 2008, 376pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33920-2
$109, £84, 95€, A150
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-08523-9
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Bridging the vital concepts of classical political thought and the language of everyday modern political discourse, this comprehensive ready-reference handbook explains the central ideas and recurring themes that inform the Western political tradition.

Liberty. Justice. Nature. Law. First formulated millennia ago by the founding philosophers of the Western tradition, these basic concepts of human thought remain central to our conception of ourselves, our place in the world, and our relationships with others-that is, our politics. Readers encountering such broad political concepts, their practical expressions in political movements and systems of government, the ideas of influential ancient and modern political thinkers—or simply familiar or unfamiliar catchphrases for which they would like a succinct yet informative explanation—will welcome this accessible encyclopedic guide.

The major political concepts, themes, issues, movements, groups, and schools that have developed over time and shaped our modern world appear here in all their diversity, along with biographical entries and articles on the principal works of political theorists from Plato to John Rawls. Further, serious students and browsers alike will delight in the numerous entries on familiar quotations and political catchphrases, from the banality of evil and Big Brother to the war of all against all.


  • Sidebars discussing the work of major political thinkers in the context of particular entries
  • Bibliography of recent and recommended print and electronic resources
  • Table of seminal thinkers and major political leaders whose thought transcended their historical moment


"This encyclopedia provides readers with an introductory understanding of the thinkers and ideas in this field; entries are readable and not technical. It would be ideal for undergraduates going through a text in political theory, for example, or possibly even first-year graduate students. . . . Recommended."—Choice, July 1, 2009

"This is a broad, readable, digestible and highly accessible publication....a very good value and would be a welcome addition to public, reference, government and academic libraries."—Reference Reviews, July 1, 2010
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