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Title: Tocqueville : the theorist of democratic modernity.
Author: Malakos, Apostolos.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3617 2881
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1996
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The thesis is a study of the work of Alexis de Tocqueville written in the light of the current debate about the intellectual origins and ideological content of modernity. The central argument is that Tocqueville should be seen first and foremost as one of the most perceptive and original theorists of modernity. Tocqueville's work has been underestimated and minsunderstood. largely because the complexity of his theoretical project has not been given the credit it merits. To sustain these central claims two complimentary arguments are advanced. First. to understand fully the broadness and depth of Tocqueville's analysis of democratic modernity requires appreciation of the importance of one theoretical and one methodological break in his work. The former occurs when Tocqueville is preparing the second volume of Democracy in America. From this book onwards his agenda is radicalized moving beyond the aristocratic liberalism of the first volume. The methodological break is evident in the content of the Ancien Regime and the French Revolution. in which. despite a thematic continuity with the second volume of Democracy in America, Tocqueville presents a much more elaborate analysis of the emergence of democratic modernity and the specifically modern relationship between the public and the private. Second. a full appreciation of Tocqueville's originality emerges when his thought is systematically compared with the thought of some other modern and contemporary theorists of modernity. In the thesis Tocqueville's work is read in parallel to the work of another major theorist of modernity. Max Weber and a lot of thematic and substantive similarities between their thought are suggested. Tocqueville's work is also read in parallel to the works of two sympathetic critics of modernity. Jurgen Habermas and Hans Blumemberg and two rather unsympathetic critics. Zygmunt Bauman and Michel Foucault. The reading of his work within the intellectual framework of his time is not sufficient. although it is necessary. since Tocqueville's novelty allowed him to go beyond the problematic of his intellectual environment. Last. but not least. besides making extensive use of the secondary literature. and constructively criticizing it. the thesis provides its own distinctive reading of Tocqueville's work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy