Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Normative Political Theory
Political theory deals with the creation of good governing institutions according to some principle and the assessment of what the institutions do. Virtually by definition, assessment of institutions requires resolving issues in political theory and more or less simultaneously issues in social science. Although in our time the two streams seldom merge, both are essential to the task of political theory. Normative political theory offers a framework for the evaluative component of this assessment. This entry first reviews the modern origins of normative political theory and its explanatory basis and then examines its main issues: equality, civil society, civil liberties, justice, democracy, and constitutionalism. Because these issues are often discussed in substantial isolation from each other or with the principal focus on one major issue, as in John Rawls's book A Theory of Justice , one might conclude that there is no general normative theory that covers all of these. ...