The Political Theory Workshop presents:
‘Moral and Material Amelioration of the Lots of All’: Louis Blanc’s Theory of Democratic Associations
S. Emre Gercek, Political Science, UConn
in conversation with Mandy Long, Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy
December 8, 11:00 am–1:00 pm, on Zoom
This paper argues that democracy became an important idea in nineteenth-century Europe because it offered a vocabulary to address the problems of social disintegration and inequality. It turns to Louis Blanc’s work Organization of Labor to demonstrate how democracy expressed the demands for egalitarian solidarity. Particularly important was Blanc’s proposal of “social workshops:” a reorganization of industry in the form of democratic worker associations. Yet, this idea created a novel tension. While Blanc championed democracy to demand the inclusion and enfranchisement of the working class, this demand conflicted with the universalist aspirations of republican citizenship. Blanc reconciled this tension between the images of the working class and the citizen in his socialist and republican ideas when he suggested that democratic associations would allow workers to have egalitarian control over their conditions while simultaneously fostering their habits and opportunities to be participatory citizens.
Co-sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute
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