Friday, August 5, 2011

Introducing Political Philosophy - A Graphic Guide

Introducing Political Philosopy - A Graphic Guide
by Dave Robinson
Illustrations by Judy Groves
Icon Books, 2011

Review by Ramona Wadi

Another excellent book from the Introducing series, Political Philosophy - A Graphic Guide discusses the various institutions which regulate individuals. Departing from the concept of individual and moving on to society and state, Robinson gives an overview of political philosophy from the times of the Ancient Greeks to the contemporary forms of governance and society.

Referring to the concepts raised by famous philosophers, from Socrates and Plato, Locke and Hume, to Machiavelli, Gramsci and Marx, the dynamics of state are explored from various angles. The book illustrates questions with snippets of history, such as democracy being the power which condemned Socrates to death, as well as an overview of the French Revolution and its aftermath with regard to socialism.

The Prince - Machiavelli's best known work deserves a special mention as it sheds light on the dynamics of power and force. Referring to Gramsci's Theory of Hegemony, Robinson defines the unthinking society and the consequence of allowing capitalist power even more dominance. Marx perceives the failure of capitalism as being an unsustainable power process.

At times delving deeper into society, the book lays bare the political spectrum of left and right; while at the same time paying attention to other forms of governance apart from democracy and sustaining each concept with reference to major political treatises. Ingeniously in almost every page, Robinson lays the argument of human rights, which seems to be exploited and abused in many forms of political power, including within the so-called lesser evil of democracy.

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