Colin Kidd writes:
Few areas of the humanities have undergone such a remarkable transformation over the past half-century as the history of political thought. Students were once introduced to it by way of its giants – the likes of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Marx. Rather than a living discussion among contemporaries, between great thinkers and lesser fry, political thought was reckoned to be a more elevated – if stilted – affair, of giant responding unto giant, sometimes across centuries of silence. Its history belonged not to historians but to philosophers; and political scientists, broadly speaking, concurred. They too studied political thought by way of its canonical figures, for the light their ideas shed on perennial problems in government.