Rousseau and the Paradox of Alienation

Rousseau and the Paradox of Alienation

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This book examines the concept of human alienation as it is depicted in the writings of Rousseau, who considered life in civil society to be antithetical to man's true, solitary nature. A complete understanding of man's estrangement from himself and from those around him-a concept made popular in the works of Marx and others-requires an examination of the concept's earlier treatment by more

Product details

  • Hardback | 110 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 15.24mm | 340.19g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739166328
  • 9780739166321

Review quote

Campbell's reading of Rousseau's key texts makes the case that he is the foundational source of the theory of alienation as it is found in subsequent literature, especially in Hegel and then Marx and Marxian-inspired discourse. Campbell's explication shows that Rousseau's psychosocial understanding of man's dilemma in modern civil life transcends the Marxian focus on economic man. The author says Rousseau's theory has been overlooked and the significance of his innovative insight neither fully understood nor appreciated. Campbell (Concord Univ.) also sees a clash between Rousseau and Marx: for the former, man's original nature is asocial at core and for the latter, it is social. For Rousseau, society itself is the conundrum man faces. Campbell says that Marx's remedy of revolution fails to overcome alienation because it does not resolve the self-alienation that Rousseau locates within man's inner being. Only The Social Contract's paradox of alienation overcoming itself (a pre- Hegelian negation of the negation?) can produce synthesis between individual and communal well-being...Summing Up: Recommended. CHOICE Lucidly written and forcefully argued, Campbell makes a compelling case for reading Rousseau as a pivotal figure in the development of modern conceptions of alienation. Rousseau and the Paradox of Alienation convincingly argues for Marx's debt to Rousseau's transformation of the concept of alienation. -- Julia Simon, University of California, Davis Sally Howard lucidly explores the way the notion of alienation was transformed over the course of modern political thought and finds the key to this transformation in Jean-Jacques Rousseau. -- Christopher Kelly, Boston Collegeshow more

About Sally Howard Campbell

Sally Howard Campbell is associate professor of political science at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia, where she has taught since 2003. She teaches courses in political theory, international relations and constitutional law. She received her Master's degree from Rice University and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston. She has co-authored articles for The Journal of Conflict Resolution and The American Journal of Political Science and was a contributor to The Constitutionalism of the American States (2008).show more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter One: Alienation Prior to Rousseau Chapter Two: The Rousseauian State of Nature Chapter Three: The Path to Alienation Chapter Four: Man in Civil Society Chapter Five: The Paradox of Alienation Chapter Six: The Legacy of Rousseau's Innovation Bibliographyshow more