Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Neo-Political Theory: Political Theory in a Post-Political World

Dr Mary Walsh.

In an increasingly post-political world, the conference theme, 'Future, Human' provides a timely occasion to raise the pressing relevance of the importance of political theory in the present. While conscious of not telling a story about the continuing saga of the loss of the political realm in the modern world, it is factual truth that the political realm has been in seeming decline, despite the rather paradoxical increase in politics more generally. Stories about the decline of political theory are not new and abound in the traditions and history of Western political theory; from Plato rejecting the political realm and politics for philosophy as the highest aim of human beings, to contemporary fixations with the singular human subject in identity politics, critical theories of the self and individual conceptions of selfhood. Political theory is saturated with narratives that testify to the fact that political theory has had to fight for the space to appear. It is not surprising that traditionally, historically and contemporarily, this international assessment of political theory is held within the discipline among some political theorists, and other disciplines, particularly philosophy, sociology, economics and critical theory. Neo-political theory aims to restore understanding of the importance of the political realm to being a human being, distinguishing itself from various forms of contemporary political theorising and critical sociological conceptions of the sub-political realm and sub-politics. It positions itself against those that would argue for 'interdisciplinary synthesis', aiming to highlight the distinctiveness of the neo-political and neo-political theorising, with its focus upon actual events and happenings, as well as ideas and concepts.


Dr Mary Walsh  (Australia)
Senior Lecturer in Politics
School of Business & Government Division of Business, Law and Information Sciences
University of Canberra

Dr. Mary Walsh is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the discipline of Politics at the University of Canberra. Her recent publications appear in Contemporary Political Theory, Philosophy in the Contemporary World & Political Studies Review. She is the author of Introducing Political Theory (forthcoming with Sage: London) and is a member of the American Political Science Association, the Australasian Political Studies Association, the British Political Studies Association and the International Political Science Association.

  • Political theory
  • Neo-political theory
Person as Subject
  • Hannah Arendt Zygmunt Bauman

(Virtual Presentation, English)