14 episodes

A new series of talks by David Runciman, in which he explores some of the most important thinkers and prominent ideas lying behind modern politics – from Hobbes to Gandhi, from democracy to patriarchy, from revolution to lock down. Plus, he talks about the crises – revolutions, wars, depressions, pandemics – that generated these new ways of political thinking. From the team that brought you Talking Politics: a history of ideas to help make sense of what’s happening today.

Talking Politics: HISTORY OF IDEAS Talking Politics

    • Politics
    • 4.8 • 869 Ratings

A new series of talks by David Runciman, in which he explores some of the most important thinkers and prominent ideas lying behind modern politics – from Hobbes to Gandhi, from democracy to patriarchy, from revolution to lock down. Plus, he talks about the crises – revolutions, wars, depressions, pandemics – that generated these new ways of political thinking. From the team that brought you Talking Politics: a history of ideas to help make sense of what’s happening today.

    Q & A with David

    Q & A with David

    We got lots and lots of excellent questions from listeners about the themes and ideas in this series of talks. In this extra episode
    David will do his best to answer some of them, from Hobbes to Weber, and from Gandhi to feminism. Plus he talks about what's missing from this series and where we might start next time.


    Go to https://www.talkingpoliticspodcast.com/history-of-ideas for the full collection of reading lists.


    Quentin Skinner on the state:


    (Video) Quentin Skinner, ‘What is the state? The question that will not go away’


    Orwell on Gandhi:


    https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/reflections-on-gandhi/
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 48 min
    Fukuyama on History

    Fukuyama on History

    Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History (1992) became associated with the triumph of liberal democracy at the end of the twentieth century. But was Fukuyama really a triumphalist? David explores what Fukuyama had to say about the strengths and weaknesses of liberal democracy and asks whether his analysis still holds true today. What have we learned about the modern state from its history? And can it, and we, really change now?


    Recommended version to purchase: 
    - https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/133/13399/the-end-of-history-and-the-last-man/9780241960240.html


    Going Deeper:
    - Paul Hirst for the LRB on ‘Endism’
    - Fukuyama at the 2020 Munich Security Conference
    - Fukuyama on the 2016 presidential election
    - Louis Menand, ‘Francis Fukuyama Postpones the End of History,’ The New Yorker.
    - Talking Politics with Fukuyama 
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 46 min
    MacKinnon on Patriarchy

    MacKinnon on Patriarchy

    Catharine MacKinnon’s Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989) challenges two dominant ways of thinking about politics: liberalism, which wants to protect us from the power of the state, and Marxism, which wants to liberate us through the power of the state. What if neither is good enough to emancipate women? Mackinnon explains why patriarchal power permeates all forms of modern politics. David
    discusses what she thinks we can do about it.


    Recommended version to purchase: 


    - Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward a feminist theory of the state (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).
    -

    Going Deeper:


    - Lorna Finlayson in the LRB on Catharine MacKinnon, feminism, and the law
    - Catharine A. MacKinnon, Sexual harassment of working women: a case of sex discrimination (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979).
    - Drucilla Cornell, ‘Sexual difference, the feminine, and equivalency: a critique of MacKinnon’s Toward a feminist theory of the state’, Yale Law Journal, vol. 100, no. 7, article 12.
    - The NYTimes on Catharine MacKinnon and sexual harassment
    - Catharine Mackinnon for The Atlantic on #MeToo
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 44 min
    Fanon on Colonialism

    Fanon on Colonialism

    Frantz Fanon was a psychiatrist who both experienced and analysed the impact of colonial violence. In The Wretched of the Earth (1961) he developed an account of politics that sought to channel violent resistance to colonialism as a force for change. It is a deliberately shocking book. David explores what Fanon’s argument says about the possibility of moving beyond the power of the modern state.


    Free online version of the text:
    - http://abahlali.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Frantz-Fanon-The-Wretched-of-the-Earth-1965.pdf
    Recommended version to purchase: 
    - https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/573/57385/the-wretched-of-the-earth/9780141186542.html
    Going Deeper:
    - Megan Vaughan for the LRB on Fanon and psychiatry in North Africa
    - Frantz Fanon, Toward the African revolution: political essays
    - Frantz Fanon, Black skin, white masks (New York, NY: Grove Press, 2008).
    - (Video) Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers [film] (1966)
    - Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘Preface’, in Frantz Fanon, The wretched of the earth (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 2001)
    - Alice Cherki, Frantz Fanon: a portrait, Nadia Benabid, trans. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006).
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 41 min
    Arendt on Action

    Arendt on Action

    Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition (1958) is a remarkably prophetic book. At its heart is an analysis of the relationship between labour, work and action, set against a time of rapid technological change. Arendt worried about the power of computers, believed in the capacity of people to reinvent themselves through politics and despaired of the influence of Thomas Hobbes. Was she right?


    Recommended version to purchase: 
    - https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo29137972.html


    Going Deeper:
    - James Miller in the LRB on Hannah Arendt
    - Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
    - Hannah Arendt, Eichman in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
    - In Our Time on Hannah Arendt
    - Matthew Beard for the Guardian, ‘With Robots, is a life without work one we’d want to live?’ 
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 44 min
    Hayek on the Market

    Hayek on the Market

    Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944) was written during the Second World War but Hayek was really worried about what would come next. He feared that wartime planning would spill over into the peacetime economy and destroy hard won freedoms. David explores where Hayek’s fears came from and asks why he worried that democracy would only make the problem worse. He also considers what makes Hayek such a politically influential and divisive figure to this day.


    Free online version of the text:
    - https://archive.org/details/TheRoadToSerfdom/page/n7/mode/2up
    Recommended version to purchase: 
    - https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-road-to-serfdom/f-a-hayek/9780415253895
    Going Deeper: 
    - Geoffrey Hawthorn on Hayek and his overcoat for the LRB 
    - F.A. Hayek, ‘Individualism: True and False’ 
    - Andrew Gamble, Hayek: The iron cage of liberty (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996)
    - Stephen Metcalf in The Guardian, ‘Neoliberalism: The Idea that Swallowed the World’ 
    - Hayek vs. Keynes
    - Matt Ridley, The rational optimist: how prosperity evolves (London: Fourth Estate 2011)
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
869 Ratings

869 Ratings

Gav678378393 ,

Brilliant

Amazing series that was my companion on many walks during the summer. One of the absolute best things about this series is that it made me think about how society as I see it both today and historically fit into the ideas presented here and opening. There are some pretty complex concepts in here, I listened to each episode at least twice although Arendt is just a bit too conceptual for me to get. I would recommend 2 things before listening . Firstly, make sure you fully understand episode 1 as many of the future ideas build/compare/critique Hobbes and secondarily, read up on the French Revolution as quite a few of the ideas I’m the early episodes require some knowledge.

tareyutr ,

In deep discussion and prevails how modern politics originated

Excellent review and in depth discussion of origin of modern politics I have really enjoyed overbook you have reviewed and I am starting with Hobs as a beginning

Elisker ,

Expanding One’s Horizons

What a find. One of the huge advantages of the Covid-19 lockdown has been the opportunity to listen to podcasts. As an 18 year old undergrad, I was exposed to and totally overwhelmed by having to read Hobbes’ Leviathan. It totally put me off following the trail of ideas. Now at 72, I am enjoying listening to this series of talks and wanting to read more. Thank you, David Runciman.

Top Podcasts In Politics

Listeners Also Subscribed To