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Title: On the character of the British Conservative tradition: Disraelian and Thatcherite creeds in an Oakeshottian perspective
Author: Ploom , Illimar
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
This thesis argues that Oakeshott's theory of civil association and his reading of modem European history offer a plausible way of comprehending the general historical character of the British Conservative tradition. Focusing on two broad periods, it claims that as different as the facets of 19th-century 'paternalism' and 20th_ century 'libertarianism' are, they can nevertheless be understood as interpretations of the same Conservative core. A novel Oakeshottian approach is suggested whereby its subject is understood as a tradition. This draws on the Conservative structure which consists of two categorically distinct parts - philosophical assumptions and practical politics, a divide only further emphasised by the anti-ideological stance. In order to achieve a holistic view of the tradition, its philosophical and practical layers are tied together by way of considering the Conservative assumptions in terms of their historical implications and by extracting from behind the relatively long periods of Conservative politics their main philosophical positions. Based on this scheme, it is possible to juxtapose Hegel's and Oakeshott's complementary readings of societas with Disraelian Toryism and Thatcherism. It is found that while sharing the idea of civil association, the two creeds still differ significantly since they stem from different perceptions and historical contexts. This works both period-wise but also in parallel since the threat to societas was perceived as multifaceted - both collectivism and radical individualism were considered dangerous by Conservatives. As representatives of the 'paternalist' and 'libertarian' subtraditions, the thesis focuses on some salient general features of the Disraelian and Thatcherite streams and finds them representing the distinguished Oakeshottian assumptions. Likewise, the ideas of some prominent Disraelian and Thatcherite protagonists are considered. Despite the often significant differences in their views, it is argued that their broader understanding of the role of the state relies on the idea of societas.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.665299  DOI: Not available
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