Oliver Eberl/Angela Marciniak: History of ideas as a multilayered discipline


Research on the history of ideas is currently in a phase of reconfiguration, as is illustrated by the large number of publications on methods in this field. Since the 1960s the ‚revolution in method‘ questioned the claim that there was a canon of (western) political thought. As a result new re- search areas pluralized the subject matter and methodology of the history of ideas. Research on the history of ideas is, therefore, not only a topic in different disciplines, it is also methodologically versatile. Currently, reflection on the methodology of the history of ideas generally follows three great paradigms: the Cambridge School, the German history of concepts and Michel Foucault’s critical approaches. The interdisciplinary development of the history of ideas is, however, not fur- thered by debating the subject matter itself but rather by methodological reflection. In this essay we argue to regard the three paradigms not as contradictory, but as complementary competences that needs to be chosen and reflected depending on the respective subject matter and the par- ticular research interest. The German discussion within political science on the relation between the history of ideas and political theory often fails to understand this methodological distinctness. But it is precisely this methodological diversity that renders the history of ideas so important for political science, because it allows it to connect to other disciplines in the humanities.

The following titels were discussed i.a.:
Pocock, J. G. A.: Political Thought and History (368); Llanque, M.: Politische Ideengeschichte. Ein Gewebe politischer Diskurse (369); Stollberg-Rilinger, B.: Ideengeschichte (369); Koselleck, R.: Begriffsgeschichten (370); Bluhm, H./Gebhardt, J. (Hrsg.): Politische Ideengeschichte im 20.Jahrhundert (371); Skinner, Q. (Hrsg.): Visionen des Politischen (371); Foucault, M.: Geometrie des Verfahrens (372); Joas, H./Vogt, P. (Hrsg.).: Begriffene Geschichte (372); Mulsow, M./Mahler, A. (Hrsg.): Die Cambridge School der politischen Ideengeschichte (372); Saar, M.: Genealogie als Kritik (372); Skinner, Q.: Freiheit und Pflicht. Thomas Hobbes’ politische Theorie (373); Llanque, M./Münkler, H. (Hrsg.): Politische Theorie und Ideengeschichte (377); Buchstein, H./Gerhard, G. (Hrsg.): Politische Theorie und Politikwissenschaft (382); Thiele, U.: Die politischen Ideen von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (387)

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