The Exile of Political Theory: the Lost Homeland of Legitimation

Jon Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A sense of distance or exile is a recurrent theme of the literature in which the state of the political theory is either lamented or acclaimed. A review of these tales suggests that implicit definitions of the homeland of the sub-discipline as philosophical, practical or interpretive are inadequate, leading to mistaken diagnoses of the reasons for the ills or recovery of political philosophy. This paper argues that political theory has been exiled from its previous role or homeland of legitimation of political orders. Under contemporary conditions in the advanced liberal capitalist political order, in which a media-generated imagology of society as a communicative system fills the role of a legitimating discourse, political theory faces a legitimation crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-697
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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