The New State: Group Organization the Solution of Popular Government

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Having organized neighborhood discussion groups before World War I, Follett traces the dynamics she noticed in these forums and develops some core concepts useful for those working on questions of public deliberation today. She also shows how deliberation informs debates that raged in political theory during her own era. She discusses the works of pluralists (Harold Laski), idealists (T. H. Green and Bernard Bosanquet), and pragmatists (William James) and makes important arguments about the relationship between socialism and democracy. Her work is marked by rigorous thinking about the implications of democratic principles as they relate to political and socioeconomic organization.

This book articulates the formation of a “new state” growing out of the local activities of citizens and renews the American idea of "federalism" in order to balance local activities and national purposes. By doing this, Follett leaves us with a pathbreaking work that demands more attention today. With preliminary essays by Benjamin Barber and Jane Mansbridge, plus a historical introduction provided by Kevin Mattson, this reissued edition will be of use to scholars and activists who are currently working on issues of democratic participation, civic education, and public deliberation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“By reading Follett with the hindsight of 80 years experience, we can measure our progress, in the case of education; or where we seem to have lost our way, as in criminal justice. . . . It is only in the risking, participating personally and fully in a challenging democratic activity, that we fulfill ourselves as persons—and as citizens. Thomas Jefferson saw this from a viewpoint of political stability, Hannah Arendt from the perspective of political philosophy, and Follett from the individual, personal perspective. It is a message which the comfortable do not appreciate.”
—Robert Cunningham, Journal of Organizational Change Management
A reissue of the 1918 text by Mary Parker Follett which is, according to one of her modern editors, "an American classic of participatory democracy." Follett discusses the "new psychology," collective feeling, traditional democracies, the growth of democracy in America, the importance of neighborhood and local organization, political pluralism, and the moral state and creative citizenship. Two forewords examine Follett as a feminist and negotiator and as a democratic hero. Also included are general introductions to the text and Follett's life. Paper edition (unseen), $18.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271018263
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Known mostly for her pioneering work in managerial theory, Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933) was also an astute political theorist. In The New State (1918), she wrote a classic work in democratic political theory. Her vision of citizens gathering into neighborhood centers and engaging in civic dialogue continues to inform recent calls to strengthen American democracy from below. Next to John Dewey's The Public and Its Problems (1927), The New State stands as one of the most important political works that grew out of the Progressive Era in American history.

Benjamin R. Barber holds the Walt Whitman Chair of Political Science at Rutgers University and is Director of the Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy there.

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Table of Contents

Publisher's Note
Foreword: Mary Parker Follett as Democratic Hero
Foreword: Mary Parker Follett: Feminist and Negotiator
Introduction: Reading Follett
Introduction 3
Pt. I The Group Principle
I The Group and the New Psychology 19
II The Group Process: the Collective Idea 24
III The Group Process: the Collective Idea (continued) 33
IV The Group Process: the Collective Feeling 44
V The Group Process: the Collective Will 48
VI The Unity of the Social Process 50
VII The Individual 60
VIII Who is the Free Man? 69
IX The New Individualism 73
X Society 75
XI The Self-and-Others Illusion 79
XII The Crowd Fallacy 85
XIII The Secret of Progress 93
XIV The Group Principle at Work 105
XV From Contract to Community 122
Pt. II The Traditional Democracy
XVI Democracy not "Liberty" and "Equality": Our Political Dualism 137
XVII Democracy not the Majority: Our Political Fallacy 142
XVIII Democracy not the Crowd: Our Popular Delusion 148
XIX The True Democracy 156
XX The Growth of Democracy in America 162
XXI After Direct Government - What? 174
Pt. III Group Organization Democracy's Method
XXII Neighborhood Needs the Basis of Politics 189
XXIII An Integrated Neighborhood 204
XXIV Neighborhood Organization vs. Party Organization: The Will of the People 216
XXV Neighborhood Organization vs. Party Organization: Leaders or Bosses? 227
XXVI Neighborhood Organization vs. Party Organization: A Responsible Neighborhood 232
XXVII From Neighborhood to Nation: the Unifying State 245
XXVIII Political Pluralism 258
XXIX Political Pluralism and Sovereignty 271
XXX Political Pluralism and Functionalism: The Service State vs. The "Sovereign State" 288
XXXI Political Pluralism and the True Federal State 296
XXXII Political Pluralism (concluded) 311
XXXIII Increasing Recognition of the Occupational Group 320
Pt. IV The Dual Aspect of the Group: A Union of Individuals, an Individual in a Larger Union
XXXIV The Moral State and Creative Citizenship 333
XXXV The World State 344
App The Training for the New Democracy 363
Index 375
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2006

    Possibly the most important book on democracy written in the past 200 years

    Let me tell you the story of how this edition came to be. In 1996 I was invited to be part of a research team for a conference on social systems design. The New State was required reading for the group. However, the was hard to come by. I was lucky enough to find a 1918 edition in our State Library. This copy had never been read. I know that because the edges of many of the pages had not been cut and separated. After taking a knife carefully to the book, I read it and was amazed...transformed, even. After the conference, I approached a well-known political scientist about writing an introduction so that we could get it re-issued. At first he declined, but then he realized a colleague of his was an expert on Follett's time period. So he proposed to me that they both write introductions. Together we approached a publisher, who, after some review, agreed that it was worthy of re-issuing. They requested an original copy to use to create the new edition. The original would be destroyed in the process. It turns out that the one I'd found - the one that had never been read before I opened it - would be the one to be sacrificed to become the 1998 edition. In any event, Follett's work is remarkable, timeless, and important. And her writing flows well. Enjoy.

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