Is political theory political enough? Or does a tendency toward abstraction, idealization, moralism, and utopianism leave contemporary political theory out of touch with real politics as it actually takes place, and hence unable to speak meaningfully to or about our world? Realist political thought, which has enjoyed a significant revival of interest in recent years, seeks to avoid such pitfalls by remaining attentive to the distinctiveness of politics and the ways its realities ought to shape how we think and act in the political realm.
Politics Recovered brings together prominent scholars to develop what it might mean to theorize politics “realistically.” Intervening in philosophical debates such as the relationship between politics and morality and the role that facts and emotions should play in the theorization of political values, the volume addresses how a realist approach aids our understanding of pressing issues such as global justice, inequality, poverty, political corruption, the value of democracy, governmental secrecy, and demands for transparency. Contributors open up fruitful dialogues with a variety of other realist approaches, such as feminist theory, democratic theory, and international relations. By exploring the nature and prospects of realist thought, Politics Recovered shows how political theory can affirm reality in order to provide meaningful and compelling answers to the fundamental questions of political life.