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Title: The concept of the division of labour as the link between A. Smith's and G.F.W. Hegel's social theory
Author: Ioannidou, Anastasia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3586 8297
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1995
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This thesis compares Smith's and Hegel's social theory and in particular focuses on the concept of labour and division of labour in conceptualising the positive aspects of modem society. I examine the shift made from the natural law and social contract theories of society as a form of justification of rights and power towards theories that argued for social reproduction and cohesion on the basis of the rule of law and the rationality that arises from the politico-economic role of the division of labour in society. Smith set the question of the division of labour in modem society as a politico- economic question with socio-theoretical implications for the modem theory of industrial society. In other words, the division of labour for Smith is both the source of wealth for the modem nation and a principle for the organisation of production. Modem commercial society is characterised by an extensive division of labour which in so far as it highlights individual self-interest, serves to challenge traditional ideas of morality and civic morals as forms of social cohesion. Political economy as the modem science of society reconstructed critically, on the one hand, the political economy of modem institutions, and on the other hand, offered a moral argument that articulates a moral critique of the conflicts of modem society which are extended in all forms of social life. This socio-theoretical endeavour had great impact on the theories critical of enlightenment such as Hegel’s. Hegel, influenced by the developments in the French and Scottish enlightenment, made a shift from his early theological interest towards the socio-political conceptualisation of social developments as part of the conceptualisation of “objective spirit”. His early account is negative and exposed both the negativity of the immediate/empiricist and universal/formalist approach to the political science of right and modem ethical life. Labour and division of labour played a crucial role in illustrating the mediating social and ethical elements involved. Hegel was led to a phenomenological and political view of right/law labour/division of labour and exposed the internal logic of the dialectics of civil society and of the division of labour on the institutional level. Both social theories are dealt with as a conceptualisation of the crisis and the reconstruction of enlightenment thought. In that respect Smith’s and Hegel’s arguments were complementary although they offer different formulations and answers on the particular question of the division of labour. The first, places emphasis on the political economy of modern liberty and morality in modem commercial society, and the second offers a historical and conceptual reconstruction of right and of political constitution where division of labour is the mediating moment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; European University Institute ; Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General) ; HD Industries. Land use. Labor