Putting Ideas to Work: A Practical Introduction to Political Thought

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9780742548909: Putting Ideas to Work: A Practical Introduction to Political Thought

In this new text, Mark Mattern offers a unique alternative to the traditional approaches to the study and teaching of political philosophy. Rather than approaching it solely as a world of abstractions, Putting Ideas to Work emphasizes its practical task. Political ideas drawn from historical and analytical political philosophy are used to help rethink current public problems and imagine potential solutions to them.

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About the Author:

Mark Mattern is associate professor of political science at Baldwin-Wallace College. He is the author of Acting in Concert: Music, Community and Political Action.

Review:

Mark Mattern has written a wonderful innovative introduction to political thought and its relevance for political practice that illuminates a host of issues for beginners and sophisticates alike. This is an important book that deserves wide attention. (Stephen Eric Bronner, Rutgers University)

Focusing on the crucial connection between ideas and social engagement, Mark Mattern offers a highly original approach to the study of politics. Comprehensive and sophisticated, this book stands out as one of the most readable introductions to political theory. (Manfred B. Steger, Professor of Global Politics, University of Hawai'i-Manoa)

Mark Mattern brings political philosophy to bear on practical political questions in ways that are original, compelling, and marked by a radical commitment to democracy. Putting Ideas to Work recasts old debates with insight and clarity..... (Joseph G. Peschek, Hamline University)

This text is one of a kind. An innovative introduction to Western political philosophy that delivers exactly what it promises to do: engage classic principles in working through the issues at stake in global commons tragedies; taxation, public spending, and social stratification; achieving equality in education, employment, and housing; promoting market freedoms alongside democratic political values, and more. There is a wealth of factual information in each thematically-organized chapter to fuel informed and respectful classroom debate on many of the most deeply-held myths of American political identity. (Lisa Disch, University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities)

Putting Ideas to Work fills a need for books on political theory that address political practices while simultaneously enhancing our understanding of basic concepts and tensions in the history of philosophy. Mattern offers a new and synthetic approach to political theory, which he articulates clearly and pursues systematically. Although political theorists often gesture toward political practices and marginalized groups, we seldom give practical problems the sustained attention they receive here. Mattern not only brings theory and practice together, he also creates an ongoing dialogue between mainstream and marginalized voices. (Nancy Love, Penn State University)

Putting Ideas to Work: A Practical Introduction to Political Thought is an innovative and groundbreaking text in political philosophy. Its treatment of political ideas and the concrete realities they shape moves seamlessly across two millennia and around the globe as the author demonstrates, clearly and precisely, why ideas matter in practical politics. I have never seen a better exploration of how and why political ideas matter-or should matter-in the "real world." This is a must read for all who are interested in thinking about the relationship between political ideas and political practice. (Elizabeth Kelly, DePaul University)

Mark Mattern brings political philosophy to bear on practical political questions in ways that are original, compelling, and markedby a radical commitment to democracy. Putting Ideas to Work recasts old debates with insight and clarity. (Joseph G. Peschek, Hamline University)

Mark Mattern works within a broad and grand understanding of political philosophy. (Political Studies Review, January 2009)

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