ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Conceptualizing Order: Normative and Critical Perspectives

Rina Kashyap
Simon Fraser University
Rina Kashyap
Simon Fraser University
Open Panel

Abstract

The issue of order continues to be one of the key concerns of western political philosophy (Wiser 1983: 381-3). Commentaries and analysis of the works of major political philosophers are organized around the theme of order (see Voegelin 1987, 1974, 1957a, 1957b, 1956; Wiser 1983; McKnight 1978; Hallowell & Porter 1997; Hughes, McKnight & Price (eds.) 2001). The concept of order is more often than not an implied quest of the philosopher and is rarely a stated goal. Similarly since, the definition of order is not explicitly articulated by most thinkers, the meaning is to be sought in the unpacking of their vision of politics, society, and economy. Therefore, the study of order involves a reference to a cluster of concepts. In this paper, I undertake the examination of order through a discussion of the ontology and epistemology of the concepts of power/state and individual/group/community in some of the main works in political philosophy. I consider these concepts as prerequisites in analyzing order because in my opinion, the word order has come to connote two things: first, the absence of chaos and a corresponding quest for stability; and second, the ‘ordering’/organizing of the political/social/economic domain(s). Thus a study of order segues into an analysis of the issues of power and the state (a key institution through which power manifests and maintains order). Most political theorists identify the state as crucial in the maintenance of order (Morrow 2005:13). States are the most important political form and actors in today’s world (Dryzek & Dunleavy 2009: 1). Whether a reflection of or an imposition on society, order impacts individuals/groups/communities in society, therefore these concepts and their relationship with the state become crucial in the study of order.