Beyond analytic and continental in contemporary political thought: Pragmatic methodological pluralism and the situated turn

European Journal of Political Theory 15 (2):205-222 (2016)
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In the division between analytic and continental thought, pragmatism has often been cast as a middle way. Fundamentally critical of each, it also shares resonances with both of these traditions. However, while this observation is common, remarkably little has been done to examine its truth in contemporary political thought. Drawing on recent trends in political theory, including ‘New Realism’, critical genealogical methods and a surge in pragmatic approaches, this article identifies an emerging situated turn in political thought. Emerging from several major traditions in contemporary political thinking, this trend has pragmatic themes at its centre. Having identified this as a fertile opportunity for inter-methodological work across the analytic/continental divide, it then turns to the late work of Richard Rorty in order to expose his productive framework for such cross-border exchanges. Arguing for its fundamentally democratic and pluralistic nature, this analysis also exposes this framework’s weaknesses before illustrating how recent methodological exchanges between genealogy and pragmatism rectify these deficiencies while providing a viable model for future work across traditional philosophical boundaries



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