The Demands of Liberty: Civil Society in France since the Revolution

The Demands of Liberty: Civil Society in France since the Revolution

by Pierre Rosanvallon
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674024966

ISBN-13: 9780674024960

Pub. Date: 03/28/2007

Publisher: Harvard University Press

How does France reconcile the modern movement toward pluralism and decentralization with a strong central governing power? One of the country's most distinguished political historians offers a radical new interpretation of the development of democracy in France and the relationship between government and its citizens.

Since the publication of Tocqueville's

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Overview

How does France reconcile the modern movement toward pluralism and decentralization with a strong central governing power? One of the country's most distinguished political historians offers a radical new interpretation of the development of democracy in France and the relationship between government and its citizens.

Since the publication of Tocqueville's Ancient Regime and the Revolution, French political structures have been viewed as the pure expression of a native Jacobinism, itself the continuation of an old absolutism. This interpretation has served as both a diagnosis of and an excuse for the inability to accept pluralism and decentralization as norms of a modern democracy, as evidenced in such policies as the persistence of the role of prefects and the ban on headscarves in schools.

Pierre Rosanvallon, by contrast, argues that the French have cherished and demonized Jacobinism at the same time; their hearts followed Robespierre, but their heads turned toward Benjamin Constant. The Demands of Liberty traces the long history of resistance to Jacobinism, including the creation of associations and unions and the implementation of elements of decentralization. Behind the ideological triumph of the state lies the conflicting creation of an active civil society.

In exploring these tensions, Rosanvallon takes the debate far beyond traditional views of liberalism versus republicanism and offers an innovative analysis of why the French system has worked despite Jacobinism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674024960
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2007
Series:
Harvard Historical Studies Series, #154
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Democratic Pathways and the French Case

Part I. Utopian Generality

1. Generality as Social Form

2. Generality as Democratic Quality: The Principle of Immediacy

3. Generality as Mode of Regulation: The Cult of Law

4. The Question of Origins

Part II. Trials and Recompositions

5. The Imperative of Governability

6. The Sociological Trial

7. The Requirement of Liberty

8. Resistance and Recomposition

Part III. Jacobinism Amended

9. The Great Turning Point

10. The Trade Union Exception

11. Liberty and Institutions

12. Polarized Democracy

13. The Network State

14. Differences and Repetitions

Notes

Index

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