Individualism

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ECPR Press, 2006 - Social Science - 148 pages
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Individualism embraces a wide diversity of meanings and is widely used by those who criticise and by those who praise Western societies and their culture, by historians and literary scholars in search of the emergence of 'the individual', by anthropologists claiming that there are different, culturally shaped conceptions of the individual or 'person', by philosophers debating what form social science explanations should take and by political theorists defending liberal principles. 

In this classic text, Steven Lukes discusses what 'individualism' has meant in various national traditions and across different provinces of thought, analysing it into its component unit-ideas and doctrines. He further argues that it now plays a malign ideological role, for it has come to evoke a socially-constructed body of ideas whose illusory unity is deployed to suggest that redistributive policies are neither feasible nor desirable and to deny that there are institutional alternatives to the market.

 

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Contents

New introduction by the author
1
Foreword
17
The Semantic History of Individualism
19
France
21
Germany
30
Jacob Burckhardt
35
America
37
England
41
Political Individualism
74
Economic Individualism
80
Religious Individualism
84
Ethical Individualism
87
Epistemological Individualism
92
The Relations Between These Ideas
103
Equality and Liberty
105
The Doctrines
113

History and the Social Sciences
46
The Basic Ideas of Individualism
49
The Dignity of Man
51
Autonomy
55
Privacy
60
SelfDevelopment
66
The Abstract Individual
70
Taking Equality and Liberty Seriously
118
Afterword
126
Bibliography
127
Index of Names
131
Index of Subjects
135
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Steven Lukes is Professor of Sociology at New York University, USA. He has previously held posts at Balliol College, Oxford, the European University Institute in Florence, the University of Siena and the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an editor of the European Journal of Sociology. His many published works include Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work; Power: A Radical View (of which a second, much expanded edition was recently published); Rationality and Relativism (edited with Martin Hollis); Marxism and Morality; Moral Conflict and Politics; Liberals and Cannibals: The Implications of Diversity; and The Curious Enlightenment of Professor Caritat: A Comedy of Ideas.

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