Cover of Across the Great Divide by Jeremy Arnold
Across the Great Divide
Between Analytic and Continental Political Theory
Jeremy Arnold


March 2020
264 pages.
from $28.00

Cloth ISBN: 9781503612136
Paper ISBN: 9781503612143



The division between analytic and continental political theory remains as sharp as it is wide, rendering basic problems seemingly intractable. Across the Great Divide offers an accessible and compelling account of how this split has shaped the field and suggests an alternative solution. Rather than advocating a synthesis of these philosophical modes, author Jeremy Arnold argues for aporetic cross-tradition theorizing: bringing together both traditions in order to show how each is at once necessary and limited.

Across the Great Divide engages with a range of fundamental political concepts and theorists—from state legitimacy and violence in the work of Stanley Cavell, to personal freedom and its civic institutionalization in Philip Pettit and Hannah Arendt, and justice in John Rawls and Jacques Derrida—not only illustrating the shortcomings of theoretical synthesis but also demonstrating a productive alternative. By making the case for the failings of "political realism" as a synthetic cross-tradition approach to political theory and by modeling an aporetic mode of engagement, Arnold shows how we can better understand and address pressing political issues of civil freedom and state justice today.

About the author

Jeremy Arnold is a political theorist and, most recently, was Senior Lecturer at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of State Violence and Moral Horror (2017).

"This outstanding and original contribution to the growing literature on analytic and continental approaches to political theory shows by examples the benefits and limits of cross-tradition theorizing. Jeremy Arnold proposes a novel way to think about the purpose and the methods of political theory and a new attitude to enable different and even incommensurable approaches to old problems."

—Paul Patton, Wuhan University