The Reinvigoration of Influence Studies
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The previous chapter highlighted how the category of influence, in the study of historical texts in political theory, has struggled to fully recover from significant attacks in the second half of the twentieth century. This chapter considers how, since the turn of this century, there has been a renewed interest in the notion of influence. Four thinkers in particular: Francis Oakley, Gary Browning, Markku Hyrkkänen, and Richard Shorten have strived to reassert the idea in mainstream political thought. The chapter argues that Shorten and Browning both allude to a notion of cumulative and intergenerational influence that views tradition as a progressive force. Crucially, the notion of cumulative influence allows interpreters of an idea or ideology to become inheritors of ideas, with the agency to make the case for their continued relevance. Influence can be viewed as being both positive and, again, intergenerational in nature.