Some colleagues from the Department of Political Science in ┼rhus made political classics a theme for their contribution to a students’ day. Besides drinking Ceres Classic in their office (this could never ever have happened in Sweden and it is for this reason that I do not name them here…), potential visitors were challenged with the task of choosing three pre-20th century and three 20th century political theorists from this list (and yes, I know they are all white men with the exception of Theda Skocpol who is a white woman – Kwame Anthony Appiah, anyone?)
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That was a bit of a challenge as all those listed are highly relevant reads and you could easily enter a few additional names – I’m not quite convinced by the argument that Stein Rokkan was covered with the inclusion of Seymour Martin Lipset. On the other hand, you may argue that Rokkan wasn’t a political theorist at heart. The authors of the list have also bent their heads in shame and admitted that they forgot Arend Lijphart.
Anyway, if I am asked to give a course in 6 names in political theory in my next job (Umeň was never big in political theory), my pick would probably be:
Pre-20th century – Niccol˛ Machiavelli, John Locke and John Stuart Mill
20th century – Robert A. Dahl, Giovanni Sartori, Max Weber
Perhaps Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Liberal Democracy would be a sexier name for such a course?