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Republicanism in the Modern World

Republicanism in the Modern World

John Maynor

ISBN: 978-0-745-62807-3

Jun 2003, Polity

240 pages

In Stock



In response to the dominance of liberalism, some theorists have recently embraced the republican model as an attractive alternative. The overriding appeal of these moves seems to be the robust emphasis that forms of republicanism place on citizenship and civic virtue in light of what many commentators see as a decline in the social nature of modern politics. However, many of these discussions about republicanism are inconsistent and fail to capture the essence of a classical republican theory for today's complex modern world. The result is that the ideals and values of classical republicanism have become diluted and misappropriated as they are utilized by both philosophers and politicians without a clear and consistent sense of their historical pedigree and their relevance to the contemporary world.

Republicanism in the Modern World develops and extends the theoretical implications of a distinctive republican conception of liberty as non-domination. Building on the recent work of Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit, Maynor explores the complex interdependent relationship between liberty as non-domination and conflict, citizenship, and civic virtue to develop a modern theory of republicanism. Maynor argues that modern republicanism, inspired and informed by classical versions, can be the basis for a renewed effort to rejuvenate the political ideals and institutions of the modern democratic nation-state.

This book will be invaluable to students and scholars in politics, political philosophy and international relations.


Introduction - Republicanism(s).

Chapter 1 - Ideal of Polity.


ancient liberty vs. modern liberty.

positive and negative liberty.

neo-Roman republican liberty.

instrumental republicanism.



Chapter 2 - Modern Republicanism: Liberty as Nondomination.


instrumental republicanism revisited.

three advantages associated with freedom as nondomination.

modern republican instrumental goods constitute liberty as nondomination.

the two powers of modern republicanism and personal self-development.



Chapter 3 - The Challenge of the Cultural Marketplace: Modern Republicanism and the Neutral State.


liberalism and republicanism: friends or allies.

autonomy, individualism, and civic virtue.

modern republicanism and state neutrality.

the republican 'psychology' of civic virtue.

social or state perfectionism.

against state perfectionism.

modern republican state perfectionism.

republican quasi-perfectionism: threat or enhancement?.



Chapter 4 - Without Regret: The Comprehensive Nature of Nondomination.


political liberalism and the 'Idea of Public Reason'.

constraint, regret, and overspill.

modern republicanism: comprehensive or political?.

modern republicanism and neutrality of aim.

tracking values and the wide view of public reason.

splitting the spheres.



Chapter 5 - Factions and Diversity: A Modern Republican Dilemma.


discord and diversity: the life and death of the republic.

civil discord and stability: Machiavelli's break with the past.

Rome vs. Florence.

legitimate difference and diversity.

good laws and institutions.

coping with pluralism.

lessons from Machiavelli.

is a modern republican account of pluralism possible?.

respecting the 'other'.



Chapter 6 - Modern Republicanism and Democratic Contestatory Institutions.


democracy and republican technology.

neo-Roman republican technology: classical and modern.

modern democratic contestation.

nondomination and contestation.

nondominating processes and outcomes:.

democratic contestation.

objections to modern republican democratic contestation.



Chapter 7 - Modern Republican Civic Education and Social Norms.


educating the republic.

liberal approaches to civic education.

a modern republican approach to civic education.

modern republican social norms.

nondomination as a social norm.

conflict and norms.






“A thoughtful and nicely argued attempt to reinvigorate the tradition of classical republicanism and demonstrate its relevance for today's world.” Alan Patten, McGill University

“John Maynor’s book is a welcome addition to the republican literature. It usefully distinguishes between different historical forms of republicanism and self-assuredly contributes to a modern public political philosophy of republican descent, offering a sustained defence of a republican approach to liberty, pluralism, multiculturalism and democratic contestation.” Dario Castiglione, University of Exeter

“Following the lead of ‘Neo-Roman’ republicans such as Philip Pettit, John Maynor shows how the Machiavellian tradition can provide an attractive ideal for contemporary pluralistic societies. His bold suggestion is that the institutionalization of republican non-domination would require a substantial departure from well-established liberal assumptions. This is a timely contribution to an important debate.” Cécile Laborde, University College London

  • Builds on the recent work of Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit to develop a modern theory of republicanism.
  • Argues that modern republicanism can be the basis for a renewed effort to rejuvenate the political ideals and institutions of the modern democratic nation-state.
  • Offers suggestions on how to reinvigorate politics by encouraging active civic engagement through specific forms of citizenship and civic virtue.