You sound exactly like someone I discussed stuff like this with in 2 threads about 2 months ago, asking essentially the same question about theory and humanities students. I'm sure you're the same person.
You've mentioned 2 Continental theorists here--MF and LA. English in particular, and philosophy less so, will help people understand Continental theory due to the Saussurean lineage (FS linguistics, structuralism, post-structuralism, post-modernism and other "post" theories) and the other influence of the study of language in that kind of work. That's humanities work. They also learn about Marx and Marxism. But they don't generally know other PT in-depth--Greeks, liberal theory, analytical pt, etc.
There's far more to politics than theory, and the kind of students you're talking about don't about the systematic study of politics, or politics in practice and practical terms--institutions, etc.. They don't know social science. They handle ontology and politics of language fairly well, in my experience, but not epistemology and not empirical work and research.
Your comparison of different kinds of students is flawed: You seem to be comparing polisci undergrads without a background in pol theory with grad--maybe some undergrad--humanities students with a background in some kinds of pol theory, and finding the former lacking in their knowledge of theory compared to the latter. Of course those polisci undergrads don't know theory, they haven't studied it according to you.
To your question: No, if you want to advance your understanding of politics, study political science--the systematic study of politics--and not just theory, and certainly not just Continental theory.
Yeah, I'm the same person (also asked about Butler, Fanon, Gramsci, etc. last time). I saved your responses from those threads because they were quite helpful. (I asked again because this is a slightly different question and I was wondering if anyone else had different input.) Are you a grad student or a professor?
A few questions for you:
1) I find people you labeled theorists in the other thread such as Althusser, Foucault, Frankfurt School, Judith Butler, Derrida, Lacan, Zizek, Badiou, Ardent, Benedict Anderson, Fanon, Edward Said, and Chomsky to be interesting because their theories have direct applications in understanding contemporary society. But I find thinkers like Locke, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Aristotle, Plato, and d...See full post
The work of individuals like Hayek, Strauss, Oakeshott is in the middle-- I don't find it particularly interesting but it's tolerable. Basically, I would say I find anything either Marxist or influenced by Marxism to be interesting... Is there a term for this other than Continental Philosophy, or is that exactly what I'm looking for here? I looked it up and it lists Kierkgaard, Kant, etc. as influences behind Continental Philosophy-- I find them interesting as well.
2) If you can get a sense of my interests from the above, which graduate program would you say is most appropriate for me? I want to be able to apply these theories to contemporary problems, not just debate nuances within them. I had the most coursework in American politics-- I find the work of someone like Stephen Skowronek to be very interesting, but most quantitative work is uninteresting to me. It's not so much that I can't do it (I was also a econ major)-- it's that I find it devoid of any intellectual purpose or value. So essentially what I'm looking to do is a mix between American Political Development and Political Theory.
3) Realistically, what are the job market prospects for someone with my interests?
To answer your comment about humanities grad students vs polisci undergrads-- the humanities grad students were not that strong with their Theory knowledge, but they were at least able to grasp concepts like gender performativity. Most polisci undergrads I knew wouldn't be able to do that. Additionally, the Theory department at my school was small (5-6 people) and only 2 actually did work related to Continental Philosophy-- the rest did things like American political thought, theories of democracy, etc. The English and Philosophy departments, on the other hand, had far more people familiar with Continental Philosophy.
Thanks, your responses have been really helpful!