G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Cambridge classics in the history of ideas : main studies and commitments of method in the work of Quentin Skinner & John Dunn (2020)


Bizas, Konstantinos (2020). Cambridge classics in the history of ideas : main studies and commitments of method in the work of Quentin Skinner & John Dunn. JYU Dissertations, 306. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8390-1


JYU authors or editors


Publication details

All authors or editors: Bizas, Konstantinos

eISBN: 978-951-39-8390-1

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 306

Number of pages in the book: 188

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8390-1

Open Access: Publication published in an open access channel


Abstract

The dissertation offers a minute discussion of aspects of the work of the eminent historians of political thought Quentin Skinner (b. 1940) and John Dunn (b. 1940) from the point of view that a privileged focus on the authors’ method allows. The aim of this investigation has to do with an attempt to appreciate in a new light the growing scholarship that has become widely known throughout the last half of the century as the ‘Cambridge School’ in the history of political thought and the history of ideas and which strongly centers upon the works and deeds of the two examined authors next to those of their older lifelong associate J. G. A. Pocock. In these respects, the dissertation revisits certain undue commonplaces in late currency concerning the ‘Cambridge School’, such as its frequent reception as an ensemble of methodological formulae that appeared in some of the authors’ older articles, the opposite trend of treating their work as recommending the writing of an history with no concern for method, and its frequent reduction in an antithetical contrast between Skinner’s and Pocock’s individual approaches, introducing in their place a more elaborate account of the standing of the individual authors as well as of the entire School. In the wake of the conventional trends, this study aspires to turn the emphasis towards the more analytical insights on method that the authors’ concrete historical investigations have to offer, bringing to the surface at the same time the important roles that Dunn and many other far-reaching academic minds have been playing in the shaping of the ‘Cambridge School’ from its early steps up to present. For this reason, the introductory chapter of the dissertation begins with the provision of an account of what is meant in this work by method and then briefly presents the key people and events from the preceding generations that have retrospectively proven to be constitutive for the original formation of the ‘School’ at Cambridge. Following this, the two main chapters of the work turn to the close examination of a defined portion of concrete historical studies of a single concept or idea by each one of the two authors that covers a considerable span of their academic careers, allowing us thus to discuss their method and its variation in considerable detail. In the former case, Quentin Skinner’s pieces on the history of the concept or idea of the State is examined, whereas the latter case turns to Dunn’s writings on democracy and its history. Both chapters end up with a reassembling of the acquired insights in more general terms, as is further the case with the short general conclusion of the dissertation. Throughout the work, an unprecedented range of biographical and contextual sources of relevance have been very actively employed in an effort to cover the far-reaching nuances that the writings of the examined authors have been implicating to the greatest possible extent favoured by the subject matter.


Keywords: political research; political theory; intellectual history; conceptual history; schools of thought; research methods; methodology

Free keywords: history of political thought; history of ideas; conceptual history; method; Cambridge School; Quentin Skinner; John Dunn


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Ministry reporting: Yes


Last updated on 2020-23-11 at 20:11