Tuesday February 15, 2011
Chapter 1 notes
- Robert Cox says of the makers of history: ‘Their understanding of what the historical context allows
them to do, prohibits them from doing, or requires them to do, and the way they formulate their
purposes in acting, is a product of theory.’
- In essence, we reflect on the events that occur and from that we can devise a theoretical framework
for understanding those events and for examining future events. But once we have constructed a
specific theoretical lens for viewing the world, that construct can influence how we respond to future
events and how we think about what we are doing.
- THUS, theory can be both a constraining and facilitating device. It can be used to limit agency or it can
cause agents to act by providing reasons for them to do so.
- Sir Thomas More first introduced this term ‘Utopia’ in his work describing the ideal city-state
- utopianism: The ideology that holds that there is a perfect future that people can hope to achieve.
- Many western scholars assume that Utopia is unrealizable/unreachable and see those who believe it as
hopeless daydreamers. They call Utopian mode of thinking irrational unrealistic and unpragmatic
- Is this really so? That a utpian vision of the world would likely clash with conceptions of the world as it
is as the moment. But this could create what Max Weber describes as a healthy tension between the
existent and the ideal. This striving for a better world – not its actual accomplishment – produces the
dynamic force in history.