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The life and times of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1 The politics of the soul: the life and times of Jean-Jacques Rousseau1 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (St Matthew, 16.26) Did Ludwig Wittgenstein write the most successful love story of his century? Did Thomas Hobbes compose an opera – and did it inspire the work of Mozart? Did Byron write poems about Hume or Leibniz? Did Schiller compose sonnets about Descartes and Locke? These questions seem too ridiculous to warrant an answer. Ask the same questions about Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) and the opposite

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The impossibility of reason

This book presents an overview of Jean–Jacques Rousseau's work from a political science perspective. Was Rousseau — the great theorist of the French Revolution—really a conservative? The text argues that the author of ‘The Social Contract’ was a constitutionalist much closer to Madison, Montesquieu, and Locke than to revolutionaries. Outlining his profound opposition to Godless materialism and revolutionary change, this book finds parallels between Rousseau and Burke, as well as showing that Rousseau developed the first modern theory of nationalism. It presents an integrated political analysis of Rousseau's educational, ethical, religious and political writings.

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philosopher colleague, the Swiss thinker also believed that political philosophy should be a continuing dialogue with the classics. In the introduction to the Discourse sur l’inégalité (The Origin of Inequality), Rousseau, almost echoing Machiavelli, set out to transcend history and speak directly to all of mankind. As my subject of interest is mankind in general, I shall endeavour to make use of a style adapted to all nations, or rather forgetting time and place, to attend only to men to whom I am speaking. I shall suppose myself in the Lyceum of Athens, repeating the

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau as a constitutionalist

article of faith. It is debatable if this charge of totalitarianism is justified, and, indeed, plausible. Totalitarianism is characterised by a deliberate attempt to change people to fit a political system or a historical development (Barber 1987: 525).1 Proponents of the thesis that Rousseau was a totalitarian seem to have overlooked that he explicitly set out to inquire ‘whether in civil order there can be some legitimate and sure rule of administration, taking men as they are’ (‘tels qu’ils sont’) (III: 351). Some writers have sought to rescue Rousseau from the

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau’s and nationalism

which had been unknown a couple of centuries before. Elie Kedouri observed – perhaps not entirely accurately – that ‘Nationalism is a political doctrine invented in Europe at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century’ (Kedouri 1960: 1). This might have been an exaggeration but Kedouri had a point. Nationalism is not only regarded as a relatively recently established ideology, it is also regarded as a fatherless doctrine, without the illustrious intellectual ancestry which characterises socialism, liberalism, and even conservatism. Nationalism, it is asserted, lacks a

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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In the beginning was song

6 Epilogue: in the beginning was song And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1.5) We have (rather deliberately) said very little about the subject of music, as this is not obviously a part of Rousseau’s social philosophy. Yet music was – though scholars have often forgotten this1 – Rousseau’s main passion, and this passion spilled over into his political writings in more ways than one. Rousseau, the musician and note-copier, was an accidental philosopher. Had he not seen the prize question from the Academy in Dijon on

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

arts he predicted that his essay ‘would live beyond its century’ (III: 3). And so it did. Approaching the tercentenary of his birth, the Swiss note-copier’s works are on the reading lists in sundry faculties all across the academic horizon – from anthropology through music and philosophy to political science and even botany. Why this continued interest in a man who was ‘from childhood to his death but an artisan, a bureaucrat or minor employee just as much as a writer’ (Launay 1963: 22)? This question is as easy to ask as it is difficult to answer. A short, adequate

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

002.p65 19 11/09/03, 13:33 20 The political philosophy of Rousseau state? Where would we be without the progress of medical technologies and the tremendous advances in the sciences, which have led to electricity, the lap-top computer, MTV, the electric guitar, Viagra, Boeing 747s, the hedonistic pleasures of the welfare state and cellular phones? Have we ever had it so good? Brave new world! What more could we possibly want? The history of progress Certainly the sciences have made life easier in many respects. Yet it is as if there is a flaw in the heaven of

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Time-space, disciplines, margins

This book explores modernity, the disciplines, and their interplay by drawing in critical considerations of time, space, and their enmeshments. Based in anthropology and history, and drawing on social-political theory (as well as other, complementary, critical perspectives), it focuses on socio-spatial/disciplinary subjects and hierarchical-coeval tousled temporalities. The spatial/temporal templates reveal how modern enticements and antinomies, far from being analytical abstractions, intimate instead ontological attributes and experiential dimensions of the worlds in which we live, and the spaces and times that we inhabit and articulate. Then, the book considers the oppositions and enchantments, the contradictions and contentions, and the identities and ambivalences spawned under modernity. At the same time, rather than approach such antinomies, enticements, and ambiguities as analytical errors or historical lacks, which await their correction or overcoming, it attempts to critically yet cautiously unfold these elements as constitutive of modern worlds. The book draws on social theory, political philosophy, and other scholarship in the critical humanities in order to make its claims concerning the mutual binds between everyday oppositions, routine enchantments, temporal ruptures, and spatial hierarchies of a modern provenance. Then, it turns to issues of identity and modernity. Finally, the book explores the terms of modernism on the Indian subcontinent.

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Rainer Bauböck in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers
Editor: Rainer Bauböck

This book addresses the major theoretical and practical issues of the forms of citizenship and access to citizenship in different types of polity, and the specification and justification of rights of non-citizen immigrants as well as non-resident citizens. It also addresses the conditions under which norms governing citizenship can legitimately vary. The book discusses the principles of including all affected interests (AAI), all subject to coercion (ASC) and all citizenship stakeholders (ACS). They complement each other because they serve distinct purposes of democratic inclusion. The book proposes that democratic inclusion principles specify a relation between an individual or group that has an inclusion claim and a political community that aims to achieve democratic legitimacy for its political decisions and institutions. It contextualizes the principle of stakeholder inclusion, which provides the best answer to the question of democratic boundaries of membership, by applying it to polities of different types. The book distinguishes state, local and regional polities and argues that they differ in their membership character. It examines how a principle of stakeholder inclusion applies to polities of different types. The book illustrates the difference between consensual and automatic modes of inclusion by considering the contrast between birthright acquisition of citizenship, which is generally automatic, and naturalization, which requires an application.