Liberalism and Modern Society

Liberalism and Modern Society : An Historical Argument

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This major new book is a wide-ranging analysis of the emergence and development of liberalism, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

Bellamy examines the evolution of liberal ideas in Britain, France, Germany and Italy. In doing so he discusses the work of Mill, Green, Durkheim, Weber and Pareto among others, and situates their work firmly within their respective historical contexts, illustrating the contingency of many of the social and moral assumptions underlying liberal thought.

The book also examines critically the elaboration of liberal ideas in the work of contemporary political philosophers such as Hayek, Nozick and Rawls. Bellamy shows how the liberalisms of these writers rest on social views and moral intuitions that are now anachronistic and untenable.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 165 x 229 x 17mm | 478g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745610706
  • 9780745610702
  • 1,555,580

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgements.
1. Introduction: From Ethical to Economic Liberalism.
2. Britain: Liberalism Defined.
3. France: Liberalism Socialized.
4. Italy: Liberalism Transformed.
5. Germany: Liberalism Disenchanted.
6. Contemporary Liberal Philosophy: Liberalism Neutralized.
7. Conclusion: From Liberal Democracy to Democratic Liberalism.
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Review quote

'This book is excellent and deserves a wide audience. As a combination of political theory and institutional analysis, it is better than anything else on offer in the field. The linking of ideas, history and institutional analysis, it is very deftly done. ... This book is a major contribution to one of central political traditions of the modern world.' Raymond Plant, University of Southampton '... an impressive, informative, and highly stimulating piece of work. It is certainly a welcome contribution to the analysis of a vital body of Western political thought.' International Affairs 'Impressive and scholarly.' Political Studies 'Avaluable analysis of the various strands constitutive of modern liberalism. Well-written and clearly organized.' Philosophical Quarterly 'This book will become one of the basic introductions to the sociology of liberalism and a basic resource for all those who are concerned with reassessing the nature and claims of contemporary democratic thought.' British Journal of Sociology 'Bellamy's book is highly commendable. His social historical analysis of the evolution of liberalism is a significant contribution to the literature.' 'Bellamy's successful joining of historical exposition of societal / political moralities and structures with analysis of philosophical ideas is impressive.' Millennium
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About Professor Richard Bellamy

Richard Bellamy was previously a research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. He has published a number of other books including
Modern Italian Social Theory (Polity, 1987) and
Liberalism and Recent Legal and Social Philosophy (Franz Steiner, 1989).
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