Book

In The Name of Liberalism

Desmond King

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780198296294
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599668 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198296290.001.0001

Series: International Policy Exchange Series

In The Name of Liberalism

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King investigates historical examples of social policies that conflict with liberal democratic precepts by treating some individuals differently than others. His central thesis is that existing accounts of American and British political development neglect how and why illiberal elements are intertwined in the creation of modern liberal democratic institutions. King argues that such elements are explicable in terms of the liberal democratic framework itself and thus illustrate paradoxical features of these polities; in his view, measures promoted ‘in the name of liberalism’ permit and, indeed, generate a surprising variety of illiberal social policies while at the same time revealing the political and intellectual breadth of liberalism and its interpretations. To argue his case, King undertakes three case studies of such social policies in the US and Britain: first, he examines eugenic policies in the 1920s and 1930s; work camps as parts of the response to unemployment in the Great Depression years; and modern workfare schemes. In King's view, each case demonstrates the range of motives for government intervention and the consequences of such motives on democracy. He concludes by arguing that illiberal features of particular social policies have serious implications for the notion of citizenship: how it is defined and who gets to define it, and what duties and obligations it entails.

Keywords: Britain; citizenship; democracy; eugenics; government; liberalism; social policy; USA; welfare reform; work camps

Book.  354 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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Table of Contents

Introduction in In The Name of Liberalism

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Liberalism and Illiberal Social Policy in In The Name of Liberalism

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Introduction in In The Name of Liberalism

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Introduction in In The Name of Liberalism

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Introduction in In The Name of Liberalism

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