Liberalism is one of the most central and pervasive political theories and ideologies, yet it is subject to different interpretations as well as misappropriations. Its history carries a crucial heritage of civilized thinking, of political practice, and of philosophical-ethical creativity.
This Very Short Introduction unpacks the concept of liberalism and its various interpretations through three diverse approaches. Looking at its historical and theoretical development, analysing the liberal ideology, and understanding liberalism as a series of ethical and philosophical principles, this is a thorough exploration of the concept and practice of liberalism.
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About the Author
Michael Freeden is a Professor of Political Theory at the University of Nottingham and Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford. His books include The New Liberalism: An Ideology of Social Reform (Oxford, 1978); Liberalism Divided: A Study in British Political Thought 1914-1939 (Oxford, 1986); Ideologies and Political Theory: A Conceptual Approach (Oxford, 1996); Ideology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2003); Liberal Languages: Ideological Imaginations and 20th Century Progressive Thought (Princeton, 2005); The Political Theory of Political Thinking (Oxford, 2013), and The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies (co-edited, Oxford, 2013). He is the founder-editor of the Journal of Political Ideologies. In 2012 he was awarded the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies by the UK Political Studies Association and the Medal for Science of the Institute of Advanced Studies, Bologna University.
Table of Contents
1. Navigating through liberalism
2. The emergence of liberal narratives
3. Layers of liberalism: disaggregating an ideology
4. The morphology of liberalism: reaggregating an ideology
5. Liberal luminaries
6. Liberal philosophy: Ethical visions and academic colonizations
7. Liberal Party Politics: The struggle over dominance
8. Appropriations and misappropriations of liberalism
9. The liberal balance sheet: achievements and failures