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Politics and Social Theory 1


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

Seminar reading

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

Seminar questions:

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

Seminar reading

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

Background reading

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’

Seminar questions

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

Seminar reading

Kant, Political Writings, Cambridge UP 1991,

‘What is enlightenment?’

‘The Metaphysics of Morals’

‘Perpetual peace’

Background reading

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

Seminar questions

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

Seminar reading

Adam Ferguson An Essay on the History of Civil Society Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Background Reading

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.

Seminar Questions

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

Seminar reading

Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America, London:David Campbell,1994 [1840]

Part 1, ch.XII, XV; Part 2, 2nd Book, chs. I-VIII, 4th Book, Ch.V

Background reading

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

Seminar Questions

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

Seminar reading

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.

Background Reading

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.

Seminar questions

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

Seminar reading

Weber, M. 1994 Political Writings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

‘The profession and vocation of politics’ (extracts)

‘Socialism’ (extracts)

Weber, M. From Max Weber (ed. Gerth and Mills) ‘Science as a vocation’

Background reading

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, [1959] 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

Seminar questions.

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

Seminar reading

Emile Durkheim 1986 Durkheim on politics and the state, ed Giddens, A. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Emile Durkheim 1973 [1898] ‘Individualism and the Intellectuals’ in Bellah, R. (ed) On Morality and Society, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Background reading

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 [1985] 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.

Seminar questions.

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?