normal life. Sacrifice, as opposed to normality, is also a problematic concept for liberal political theory. In his important book, Putting Liberalism in Its Place , Paul Kahn (2005) claims that a major weakness of liberal political theory is its
Between the ‘Good Person’ and the ‘Bad Citizen’
Recently several critics of mainstream political thought have advocated a realist understanding of politics, particularly in opposition to John Rawls’ political liberalism. Mainstream normative political thought is depicted by these critics as
How Satire Framed Liberal Political Debate in Nineteenth-Century France
Amy Wiese Forbes
This article discusses political satire under the July Monarchy. It analyzes how the question of satire's political meaning was generated and framed in the 1830s as debate over abstract rights under the new, supposedly more liberal government of the July Monarchy. Following the Revolution of 1830, lithographic satire became connected conceptually to political conspiracy and was argued to be harmful to the new regime. State institutions, including the police, the courts, and the National Assembly, attempted to understand and define satire politically. The effort to evaluate satire's potential harm to the state shaped French liberalism into a contest between rights to free speech and protection from harm. This process was part of a broader struggle to construct legitimate authority in France.
What Are Its Possible Futures in South Africa?
David Bilchitz and Daryl Glaser
Liberalism is associated by many with the protection of private property and the insulation of economic markets from state intervention. Yet the liberal tradition is very diverse, and some have taken its concern with equality and liberty in radically egalitarian directions that belie the reduction of liberalism to market-fundamentalist ‘neoliberalism’.
Dominant but dead
Some years ago Jürgen Habermas (1991) diagnosed modernism as dominant but dead. Neo- liberalism may still be in its youth, having come to fruition only after the 1970s, but it seems reasonable to conclude that neo-liberalism too is “dominant but dead.” The ferment of new ideas, however much they were simultaneously recycled axia from the earlier liberal tradition, reached its peak in the 1980s.
A Comparative Conceptual Exploration
José María Rosales
Rooted in late seventeenth-century theories of rights, liberal ideas have brought forth since the nineteenth century a full-edged complex of traditions in moral, political, economic, social, and legal thought. Yet in historiographical debates such complexity is often blurred by presenting it under the uniform terms of a canon. Along with other methods, conceptual history is contributing to the rediscovery of liberalism's diversity. This group of articles compiles three conceptual studies on scarcely explored aspects of the history of liberalism in Denmark, Finland, and Hungary—countries whose political past has only occasionally figured in mainstream accounts of European liberalism. This introductory article is a methodological discussion of the rationale and forms in which liberalism's historical diversity is rendered through comparative conceptual research. After reflecting on the limits of the Anglophone history of political thought to grasp the plurality of liberal traditions, the article examines how transnational conceptual histories recast the understanding of liberalism as a concept, theory, ideology, and political movement.
In the literature on European history, World War I and the interwar years are often portrayed as the end of the age of liberalism. The crisis of liberalism dates back to the nineteenth century, but a er the Great War, criticism of liberalism intensified. But the interwar period also saw a number of attempts to redefine the concept. This article focuses on the Danish case of this European phenomenon. It shows how a profound crisis of bourgeois liberalism in the late nineteenth century le the concept of liberalism almost deserted in the first decades of the twentieth century, and how strong state regulation of the Danish economy during World War I was crucial for an ideologization of the rural population and their subsequent orientation toward the concept of liberalism.
This article explores some concerns about the concept of neo-liberalism, suggesting that it has been stretched too far to be productive as a critical analytical tool. Neo-liberalism suffers from promiscuity (hanging out with various theoretical perspectives), omnipresence (treated as a universal or global phenomenon), and omnipotence (identified as the cause of a wide variety of social, political and economic changes). Alternative ways of treating neo-liberalism as more contingent and contested are considered. These emphasize its mobile and flexible character, stressing processes of contextual assemblage, articulation, and translation. The article concludes by wondering whether the concept of neo-liberalism is now so overused that it should be retired.
Like other major developments in political philosophy, John Rawls’s Political Liberalism (PL) has raised important issues for philosophy of education. Rawls’s defence of liberalism as a political doctrine whose principles do not depend on any one comprehensive moral or philosophical doctrine for their justification, against comprehensive liberalism, which by contrast expresses a particular conception of the good life, engages with current controversies in schooling policy in liberal democracies like the United States and the United Kingdom, and potentially in South Africa.2 In such societies there are groups which oppose what is seen as the tendency of liberal education, with its emphasis on the development of qualities like autonomy and individuality, to show intolerance towards particular ethnic, cultural or religious groups and to threaten their continued existence. Their objections appear to require a political rather than a comprehensive liberal approach to schooling.
Peter D. Little
The term “neo-liberalism” increasingly lays claim to an enormous terrain of political, social, economic, and cultural phenomena often so loosely applied and defined that it seems to be lurking almost everywhere. John Clarke’s thickly worded essay is a timely “wake-up” call to those of us (including myself) who often loosely use the term to explain a range of different social and economic changes without careful consideration of the term’s theoretical and empirical implications.