Conservatism is often labelled as a ‘disposition’ or ‘tradition’ rather than an ideology. Its suspicion of grand theorizing has lent itself to this characterization, but in this book leading political theorist Edmund Neill challenges this view.
He argues that conservatism is better identified as an ideology, albeit one that conceptualizes human conduct as being partially dependent on forces beyond human volition, and prioritizes cautiously managing change. He proceeds to chart the evolution of conservatism thought from the French Revolution to the present, examining how conservatives responded to disruptions to traditional order across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Drawing on examples from Britain, France and the United State, Neill concludes with some reflections on the challenges (and opportunities) that contemporary populism presents for conservatism.
This accomplished primer is essential reading for any student or scholar working in political theory and political philosophy.