Quentin Skinner: From Historian of Ideas to Political Scientist
1995 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, vol 18, nr 2., ISSN 0080-6757, Vol. 18, no 2, 119-132 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article is an assessment of Quentin Skinner's contribution to the study of political change and to the contemporary debate in political philosophy. We argue that the significance of Skinner's work to a large extent has been neglected by political scientists, as they have tended to regard him solely as a historian of ideas rather than as a political scientist. However, Skinner's approach not only offers valuable methodological lessons but a historically grounded framework that accounts for the relationship between human agency and the structural language-context, that make actions meaningful. This allows for a conception of historical change that is neither narrowly structuralist nor exclusively focused on the individual agent. In his most recent historical works, Skinner has entered the main debate of contemporary political philosophy, i.e. the debate between liberals and communitarians. Here, his analysis of the classical republican tradition of political thought, attempts a revitalization of the debate beyond the stereotypes of liberalism and Aristotelianism. This work points towards the possibility of developing a radical reconception of modem liberal democracy.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1995. Vol. 18, no 2, 119-132 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21432OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-21432DiVA: diva2:187959