Introduction: Analytic, Continental and the question of a bridge
European Journal of Political theory
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In philosophy and political theory, divisions come and go, but some persist despite beingobviously problematic. The analytic and Continental divide is one such division. Inpolitical philosophy and political theory, the division has been particularly pronounced.Analytic and Continental thinkers are divided not only over substantial issues but also over the very nature of political theorising. In spite of this fundamental nature, theorists often seem to assume that, as a division, the analytic/Continental divide requires no explanation. We suggest that, as a central division within political theory, and despite being acknowledged as problematic for quite some time, it has persisted because it has not been adequately examined. Once examined, the division turns out to be operationally weaker than it once was. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in engaging thinkers from the other side. This has been accompanied by a corresponding tendency, among both analytic and Continental philosophers and political thinkers, to reflect on the nature of their own tradition and ‘philosophy’. Both traditions have entered a self-conscious period of meta-reflection. Such questioning indicates the possibility of transformation within both groups, in the absence of settled frameworks and divisions. However, it is also clear that such signs are the beginning of the possibility of a new relation rather than a sign of the eclipse of the division. The continued institutional separation and the space between their respective philosophical vocabularies suggest that, while the time is ripe for work here, there is still much to be done.