Political realism has recently moved to the centre of debates in contemporary political theory. In this monograph, Matt Sleat presents the first comprehensive overview of the resurgence of interest in realist political theory and develops a unique and original defence of liberal politics in realist terms. Through explorations of the work of a diverse range of thinkers, including Bernard Williams, John Rawls, Raymond Geuss, Judith Shklar, John Gray, Carl Schmitt and Max Weber, the author advances a theory of liberal realism that is consistent with the realist emphasis on disagreement and conflict yet still recognisably liberal in its concern with respecting individuals' freedom and constraining political power. The result is a unique contribution to the ongoing debates surrounding realism and an original and timely re-imagining of liberal theory for the twenty-first century. This provocative work will be of interest to students and all concerned with the possibility of realising liberalism and its moral aspirations in today's world. -- .
Matt Sleat is a Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Sheffield -- .
Introduction: The resurgence of realist political theory 1. The liberal vision of the political: Consensus, freedom, and legitimacy 2. The realist vision of the political: Conflict, coercion, and the circumstances of politics 3. The realist challenge to liberal theory 4. Liberal alternatives: The liberalism of fear and modus vivendi 5. Bernard Williams and the structure of liberal realism 6. The partisan foundations of liberal realism 7. The moderate hegemony of liberal realism Bibliography Index -- .