The triangular relationship between the social, the political and the cultural has opened up social and political theory to new challenges. The social can no longer be reduced to the category of society, and the political extends beyond the traditional concerns of the nature of the state and political authority.

This Handbook will address a range of issues that have recently emerged from the disciplines of social and political theory, focusing on key themes as opposed to schools of thought or major theorists. It is divided into three sections which address:

  • the most influential theoretical traditions that have emerged from the legacy of the twentieth century
  • the most important new and emerging frameworks of analysis today
  • the major theoretical problems in recent social and political theory.

The Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory encompasses the most up-to-date developments in contemporary social and political theory, and as such is an essential research tool for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as researchers, working in the fields of political theory, social and political philosophy, contemporary social theory, and cultural theory.

chapter |30 pages

Introduction: Social, Political, and Cultural Theory since the Sixties

The Demise of Classical Marxism and Liberalism, the New Reality of the Welfare State, and the Loss of Epistemic Innocence
ByStephen P. Turner, Gerard Delanty

part Part 1|182 pages

Living Traditions

chapter |12 pages

The Marxist Legacy

ByPeter Beilharz

chapter |11 pages

Foucault and the Promise of Power without Dogma

ByGary Wickham

chapter |10 pages

Accidental Conditions

The Social Consequences of Poststructuralist Philosophy
ByThomas Docherty

chapter |11 pages

Lacanian Theory

Ideology, Enjoyment, and the Spirits of Capitalism
ByYannis Stavrakakis

chapter |10 pages

Pierre Bourdieu and His Legacy

ByMarcel Fournier

chapter |12 pages

Rediscovering Political Sovereignty

The Rebirth of French Political Philosophy
ByNatalie J. Doyle

chapter |11 pages

Continuity through Rupture with the Frankfurt School

Axel Honneth's Theory of Recognition*
ByMauro Basaure

chapter |9 pages

Liberalism after Communitarianism

ByCharles Blattberg

chapter |9 pages


Non-domination and the Free State
ByRichard Bellamy

chapter |10 pages

Pragmatism and Political Theory

ByRobert B. Talisse

chapter |11 pages

Methodological and Political Pluralism

Democracy, Pragmatism, and Critical Theory
ByJames Bohman

chapter |17 pages

What is “Critical” about Critical Racial Theory?

ByPatricia Hill Collins

chapter |12 pages

Feminist Social and Political Theory

ByClare Colebrook

chapter |11 pages

Latin American Social and Political Thought

A Historical and Analytical Perspective
ByJosé Maurício Domingues, Aurea Mota

chapter |13 pages

Intellectuals and Society

Sociological and Historical Perspectives
ByPatrick Baert, Joel Isaac

part Part 2|162 pages

New and emerging frameworks

chapter |11 pages

Power, Legitimacy, and Authority

ByStewart Clegg

chapter |10 pages


From Convergence and Stability to Plurality and Transformation
ByPeter Wagner

chapter |12 pages

Social and Political Trust

ByKaren S. Cook, Brian D. Cook

chapter |11 pages

Environment and Risk

ByTimothy W. Luke

chapter |11 pages


The Technological and the Social
ByAmelia Arsenault

chapter |10 pages

From Linguistic Performativity to Social Performance

The Development of a Concept
ByMoya Lloyd

chapter |9 pages

Nationalism and Social Theory

The Distinction between Community and Society
BySteven Grosby

chapter |11 pages

Empire and Imperialism

ByKrishan Kumar

chapter |16 pages

Nature and Society

ByByron Kaldis

chapter |11 pages

Feminist Border Thought

ByElena Ruiz-Aho

part Part 3|128 pages

Emerging Problems

chapter |8 pages

The Limits of Power and the Complexity of Powerlessness

The Case of Immigration 1
BySaskia Sassen

chapter |8 pages

Sovereignty, Security, and the Exception

Towards Situating Postcolonial homo sacer
BySheila Nair

chapter |11 pages

The Future of the State

ByGeorg Sørensen

chapter |11 pages

Reflexive Integration

A Perspective on the Transformation of Europe
ByErik O. Eriksen

chapter |11 pages

Transnational Activisms and the Global Justice Movement

ByDonatella della Porta, Raffaele Marchetti

chapter |11 pages

The Transnational Social Question

ByThomas Faist

chapter |10 pages

Hospitality, Rights, and Migrancy

ByMeyda Yeğenoğlu

chapter |11 pages

New Forms of Value Production

ByAdam Arvidsson

chapter |11 pages

Memory Practices and Theory in a Global Age

ByDaniel Levy

chapter |10 pages

Post-secular Society

ByAustin Harrington