This course introduces students to the main currents of post-Enlightenment political thought. The purpose of the course is to explore the formulation of crucial political arguments and movements such as Liberalism, Conservatism and radical socialism. The period under examination is mainly the 18th and 19th centuries. Starting from the French Revolution we follow the broader implications of the event but also the ambiguous legacy of the radical egalitarian imagination. The core section of this course encompasses those theorists who contributed to the elucidation of political modernity such as Hegel, Constant, Tocqueville, Bentham, Marx and J.S. Mill.
Week 1. The transition to the period of liberal Modernity. Conceptual changes and theoretical reflections. Introduction to the age of political Enlightenment.
Week 2. The fundamental political-theoretical consequences of the French and American Revolutions.
Week 3. Abbe Sieyes, the “Declaration of the Rights of Men and Citizen”. Jacobinism and political thought.
Week 4. The“Federalist Papers” and the political thought of the Founding Fathers in America
Week 5. The discourse of Reaction and the formation of conservative political idea. Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre. The critic of juridical and contractual modernity.
Week 6. The idea of Nation and the problem of Universalism. (Kant, Hegel, Fichte)
Week 7. The liberalism during the Napoleonic and Restauration regime. Particularities of the French liberalism. The group of ‘Les Doctrinnaires’ and the liberalism of capabilities (Guizot, Remusat. Barante)
Week 8. The liberty of the moderns and the critique of neoclassical republicanism. Benjamin Constant and the liberalism of Judgment.
Week 9. Alexis de Tocqueville and the new conception of democracy towards the egalitarian norm.
Week 10. Positivism and politics. Conservative and socialist features of social cooperation.
Week 11. The radical contestation of “formal democracy”. The Marxian idea of social emancipation and its complications.
Week 12. The theoretical turn to problems of the “rational, legal state”. From Marx to Weber.
Week 13. Final recapitulation. Chosen topics for discussion.