Category Archives: Political Theory Research Group

Edinburgh-St. Andrews Political Theory PhD Workshop

On 13 January, our Edinburgh-St.Andrews PhD Political Theory Workshop is taking place. This is an opportunity for PhD students across the two institutions to present and receive feedback on their work. The programme is below. Interested guests are welcome to attend, although please note this is a pre-read event. A write-up of the workshop will be published next week.

Guy Fletcher – Needing and Necessity

PTRG Write-up: December 7

In “Needing and Necessity,” Guy Fletcher argues that we can better understand thought and talk about ‘needs’ if we learn from recent work on modal terms ‘ought’ and ‘must.’ Further, once we understand what is going on in much of existing needs theory, we have reason to be skeptical of the added value of talking about ‘needs’ rather than the more fundamental moral concept of ‘harm.’  Continue reading

Duncan Bell – Scripting the City: J. G. Ballard among the Architects

This is a write-up of the meeting of the Political Theory Research Group, 30th November 2016.

(Source: Amber Case, flickr.com)

(Source: Amber Case, flickr.com)

The Political Theory Research Group was delighted to welcome Duncan Bell, University of Cambridge, who provided a paper on the English writer J.G. Ballard entitled Scripting the City: J. G. Ballard among the Architects. Continue reading

Mathias Thaler – Hope Abjuring Hope: On the Place of Utopia in Realist Political Theory

PTRG report, 23 November 2016

(Source: RA.AZ on Flickr, CC license)

(Source: RA.AZ on Flickr, CC license)

In this week’s PTRG meeting we discussed Mathias Thaler’s paper ‘Hope Abjuring Hope’. In this paper Mathias seeks to demonstrate the role which radical, utopian thinking ought to play within ‘realist’ political theory. Continue reading

Tim Hayward – Can Benign Leverage Be Relied On to End Global Poverty?

PTRG seminar: Can Benign Leverage Be Relied On to End Global Poverty? 9 November 2016

(Source: Radio Okapi, flickr, CC BY 2.0)

(Source: Radio Okapi, flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Should people maximize the good they can do by earning much money as they can, so they can donate as much as they can to charitable programs? This is the argument of Effective Altruism. This view seems perfectly right to us, but Professor Tim Hayward holds the opposite view. The theme of his paper Can Benign Leverage be Relied on to End Global Poverty is to challenge benign leverage, the assumption of Effective Altruism and to show that it is a problematic solution to overcoming global poverty.

Continue reading

Akwugo Emejulu – Women of Colour’s Agency and White Ignorance: Thinking through Erasure and Resistance

Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 26 October

Kara Walker - A Subtlety (source: metacynic on Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

Kara Walker – A Subtlety (source: metacynic on Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

Akwugo Emejulu provided a chapter for discussion from her forthcoming book on the effects of austerity on minority women in France and Britain. In this chapter she, together with her co-author Leah Bassel, sets out the ways in which notions of political racelessness reproduce and legitimate violent erasure and exclusion of minority women from the European polity. Of particular concern is the role the white European left plays in perpetuating political racelessness to the detriment of such excluded groups. The chapter also reflects on how minority women can respond to these European commitments that have enabled post-colonial amnesia and white ignorance.

Continue reading

Elizabeth Cripps – Justice, Integrity and the Green Parenting Duty

Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 12 October

Source: Vinoth Chandar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Source: Vinoth Chandar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This week we had the pleasure of discussing Dr Elizabeth Cripps’ paper, which introduced the idea of a “green parenting duty” as a requirement of climate justice and of respecting one’s child as a future moral agent. The work is to be presented later this month at the Aristotelian Society.

Continue reading

Maximilian Jaede – Thomas Hobbes’s Proto-Liberal Conception of Peace

Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 28 September

Thomas Hobbes Credit: Skara kommun (CC BY 2.0)

Thomas Hobbes (credit: Skara kommun (CC BY 2.0))

Maximillian Jaede’s paper “Thomas Hobbes’s Proto-Liberal Conception of Peace” is an introductory chapter to a larger book project of the same title. In the chapter, he argues that there are more points of convergence between Hobbesian and liberal conceptions of peace than we might think. Indeed, although ‘Hobbesian realism’ and ‘liberalism’ are often characterised as rivals, a Hobbesian vision of peace is best seen as proto-liberal.

Continue reading

Tahl Kaminer – The Cooptation of Critique

Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 21 September

Hulme Crescents

Hulme Crescents, Manchester 1979 Photo credit: Alan Denney (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The 2016-17 PTRG Programme kicked off with a cross-disciplinary paper examining the interplay between political theory and architecture. Tahl’s research seeks to apply political theory frameworks not only to overtly political cases but also to approaches and case studies in architecture. In particular he focuses on the process of ‘récupération’, whereby critiques of dominant practices in either politics or architecture are ‘coopted’ by the very practices that they challenge. Through co-optation or récupération such critiques are ‘absorbed by society and transformed from a threat to the system into an integral part of it.’ Building on the work of a range of political theorists, most notably Ernesto Laclau, this paper looks to provide an analysis and reconstruction of this process in order to arrive at a model for better understanding how récupération functions within architecture. Tahl looks to situate this discussion within the context of the influential social critiques which emerged from the protest movements of 1968.

Continue reading