MA In Social and Political Thought
Daniel Chernilo and Robert Fine
Outline of the Module
Week 1. Introduction
Week 2. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Week 3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract and Other Discourses
Week 4. Immanuel Kant: Political Writings
Week 5. Adam Ferguson An Essay on the History of Civil Society
Week 6 Research Week
Week 7. Alexander de Tocqueville Democracy in America
Week 8 Karl Marx: Early Writings
Week 9 Max Weber: Political Writings
Week 10 Emile Durkheim: On Politics and the state
Provisional Reading List and Seminar Questions
The reading list offers an initial guide. Do not hesitate to supplement it with your own reading. Amendments and additions are likely to be made to this programme in the course of the year.
Week two: Hobbes’ theory of the state
Hobbes, Leviathan, Cambridge UP, ch.s 13-18
Further background reading
Bob Fine, Democracy and the Rule of Law, Blackburn Press, 2002, ch.1 ‘Classical jurisprudence’, pp. 10‑ 27.
David Held, Models of Democracy, Polity, 1997, pp 75-78
Quentin Skinner, ‘The Ideological Context of Hobbes’ Political Thought’, Historical Journal 9, 1966
Ian Hampshire-Monk, A History of Modern Political Thought, Blackwell, 1992, chapter 1
Reinhart Koselleck, Critique and Crisis: Enlightenment and the Pathogenesis of Modern Society, Berg, ch.s 1 and 2
Carl Schmitt, The Leviathan in the state theory of Thomas Hobbes, Greenwood Press, 1996
1. What role did the ‘state of nature’ play in Hobbes’s theory of Leviathan?
2. What is the Leviathan?
3. According to Hobbes, what makes the state ‘rational’?
4. What is modern about Hobbes’ theory of the state?
Week three: Rousseau’s theory of the general will
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (Second part)
Social Contract, (Book 11, chapters 1-4)
in Social Contract and Discourses, London: Dent
Lucio Colletti, 'Rousseau as critic of civil society' From Rousseau to Lenin, Verso, 1972
Marshall Berman, The Politics of Authenticity: Radical individualism and the emergence of modern society Atheneum 1970
Robert Fine Democracy and the Rule of Law pp 27-37
Robert Fine Political Investigations: Hegel, Marx, Arendt Routledge 2001 pp 63-71
Hannah Arendt On Revolution Penguin ch.2
Ernst Cassirer, The question of Jean Jacques Rousseau Indiana 1967
Maurice Cranston The noble savage: Jean Jacques Rousseau 1754 – 1762 Penguin 1991, ch 11 ‘Two Social Contracts’
How did Rousseau explain the origin of inequality?
What was Rousseau’s solution to the problem of inequality?
What is the ‘general will’?
Should Rousseau’s theory of the state be described as democratic or authoritarian?
Week 4: Enlightenment and the rational state: Kant
Kant, Political Writings, Cambridge UP 1991,
‘What is enlightenment?’
‘The Metaphysics of Morals’
Introduction to Kant, Political Writings by Hans Reiss
James Bohman and Matthias Lutz-Bachman (eds) Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kant’s cosmopolitan ideal MIT Cambridge Mass, 1997
especially Jürgen Habermas ‘Kant’s idea of perpetual with the benefit of two hundred years hindsight’ pp. 113-154
Katrin Flikschuh Kant and Modern Moral Philosophy Cambridge: CUP 2000
Howard Williams Kant’s Political Philosophy Oxford: Blackwell
Paul Guyer (ed) The Cambridge Companion to Kant, Cambridge: Polity
Robert Fine Political Investigations ch.3 ‘Hegel and Kant’
Michael Sandel Liberalism and the limits of Justice Cambridge: CUP
Allen Wood Kant’s Ethical Thought Cambridge: CUP 1999
Ernst Cassirer Rousseau Kant Goethe
Michel Foucault ‘What is enlightenment’ in Paul Rabinow The Foucault Reader Penguin 1991 pp.32-50
What is enlightenment?
Was Kant a liberal or a ‘legal authoritarian’ or both?
What did Kant mean by the idea of ‘cosmopolitan right’?
What did Kant mean by ‘civil society’?
Week 5 The idea of civil society – Adam Ferguson
Adam Ferguson An Essay on the History of Civil Society Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Ernest Gellner, Conditions of Liberty, ch.8 London: Hamish Hamilton 1994
Jean Cohen and Andrew Arato: Civil Society and Political Theory, MIT 1992, Ch 2 ‘Conceptual history’
Robert Fine, 'Civil society, enlightenment and critique' in R Fine and S Rai, Civil Society: Democratic Perspectives, Frank Cass, 1997.
John Keane, Civil Society, Polity 1998
John Keane (ed.): Civil Society and the State, Verso 1988
Ellen Meiskins Wood: 'The uses and abuses of civil society' in Socialist Register 1990 pp. 60-84.
Leszlek Kolakowski: 'The myth of human self-identity: unity of civil and political society in socialist thought', in L Kolakowski and S Hampshire (ed.s): The Socialist Idea: A Re-Appraisal, Weidenfeld 1974.
Andrew Arato: 'A re-construction of Hegel's theory of civil society' in D Cornell et al. (ed.s): Hegel and Legal Theory, Routledge 1991.
Adam Seligman, The Idea of Civil Society, Princeton Univ. 1992.
Keith Tester, Civil Society, Routledge, 1992.
1. What did Ferguson mean by civil society?
2. How did he see the ‘corruptions’ of civil society?
3. What were Ferguson’s solutions to the corruptions of civil society?
4. Is the idea of civil society essential to understanding modern politics?
Week 6 Reading Week
Week 7 The idea of democracy - Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America, London:David Campbell,1994 
Part 1, ch.XII, XV; Part 2, 2nd Book, chs. I-VIII, 4th Book, Ch.V
de Tocqueville, A., The Ancien Regime, Dent, 1988, chs. 8-10
Aron, R., Main Currents of Sociological Thought, Vol.I, Weidenfeld, 1965
Connolly, W., 'Tocqueville, Territory and Violence', Theory, Culture and Society, 1994, pp.19-41
Jardin, A., Alexis de Tocqueville, Halban, 1988
Lively, J., The Social and Political Thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, Oxford, 1962
Poggi, G., Images of Society, Oxford U. Press, 1972
Sennett, R., 'What de Tocqueville Feared', Partisan Review, 1979, pp.406-418
1. What does America tell us about democracy?
2. Why is majority rule potentially tyrannical?
3. Why are ‘associations’ important?
4. What did de Tocqueville mean by individualism?
Week 8: Marx’s critique of the modern state
Marx, ‘Contribution to the critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right’ (extracts), in The Marx‑Engels Reader (ed. by Robert Tucker), Norton, 1978.
Marx, 'On the Jewish Question', in The Marx‑Engels Reader (ed. by Robert Tucker), Norton, 1978.
Marx, ‘The civil war in France’, in The Marx‑Engels Reader (ed. by Robert Tucker), Norton, 1978.
David Held, Models of Democracy, Polity, 1997, ch.4 ‘Direct democracy and the end of politics', pp. 121-154.
Robert Fine, Democracy and the Rule of Law, Blackburn , 2003, ch.2 and 4.
Robert Fine Political Investigations ch.s 4 and 5
Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, Volume One, State and Bureaucracy, MRP, 1977, Part 2, ‘The theory of the state'.
Ralph Miliband, ‘Marx and the state’, Socialist Register, 1965.
Hal Draper, ‘The death of the state in Marx and Engels’, Socialist Register, 1970.
1. Was Marx a ‘true democrat’?
2. How did Marx distinguish between the political state and civil society?
3. What lessons did Marx draw from the ‘Jewish question’?
4. How did Marx see the relation between economic and political forms of modern society?
Week 9. Weber’s conception of the rational state
Weber, M. 1994 Political Writings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
‘The profession and vocation of politics’ (extracts)
Weber, M. From Max Weber (ed. Gerth and Mills) ‘Science as a vocation’
Beetham, D., Max Weber and the Theory of Modern Politics, Polity, ch.3
Weber, The Russian Revolutions, Polity, 1995, ‘Bourgeois democracy in Russia’
Mommsen, W., Max Weber and German Politics, Chicago,  1974, ch.3
Mommsen, W. The political and social theory of Max Weber. Collected Essays, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
David Held, Models of Democracy, Polity, 1997, ch.5 ‘Competitive elitism and the technocratic vision’ pp 157-198.
Giddens, A. ‘Modernity, history and democracy’ Theory and Society, 22 1993.
Giddens, A. 1972 Politics and sociology in the thought of Max Weber, GB, Macmillan.
Mayer, J.P., Max Weber and German Politics, London, 1956
Charles Turner Modernity and Politics in the Work of Max Weber London: Routledge 1992
1. How did Weber reconcile the ‘ethics of conviction’ and the ‘ethics of responsibility’?
2. How valid was Weber’s critique of socialism?
3. What role did violence play in Weber’s idea of politics?
4. Was science instrumental to Weber’s nationalism?
Week 10: Durkheim: State and Non-State Groups as Moral Entities
Emile Durkheim 1986 Durkheim on politics and the state, ed Giddens, A. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Emile Durkheim 1973  ‘Individualism and the Intellectuals’ in Bellah, R. (ed) On Morality and Society, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
E. Durkheim 1992 Professional Ethics and Civic Morals, London & NY: Routledge.
E. Durkheim 1962 Socialism and Saint-Simon, NY, Collier, ch.1
E,. Durkheim 1984 The Division of Labour in Society, Macmillan, Preface to 2nd Edition
S. Lukes, Emile Durkheim, Penguin, 1973, Ch. 12-18.
Cladis, M. 1992 A communitarian defense of liberalism: Emile Durkheim and contemporary social theory, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Gane, M., 'Institutional Socialism', in The Radical Sociology of Durkheim and Mauss, Routledge, 1992
Giddens, A. 1978 Durkheim, GB: Fontana, Ch. 3.
Jones, S. 2001 Durkheim reconsidered, Cambridge: Polity.
Lepenies, W. 1988  Between literature and science: The rise of sociology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Poggi, G. 2000 Durkheim, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Ch. 7.
Prager, J., 'Moral Integration and Political Inclusion: A comparison of Durkheim's and Weber's Theories of Democracy', Social Forces 59, 1981.
Richter, M., 'Durkheim's Politics and Political Theory', in K. Wolff, Emile Durkheim on Sociology and Philosophy, Columbus, Ohio U. Press, 1960
Zeitlin, I. 1990 Ideology and the development of sociological theory, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
1. How did Durkheim analyse the nature of the modern state?
2. How did Durkheim understand the relation of the state to non-state groups and the individual?
3. In what sense was Durkheim a patriot?