Margins of Disorder

New Liberalism and the Crisis of European Consciousness

By Gal Gerson

Subjects: Political Theory, European History, British Studies
Paperback : 9780791461488, 247 pages, August 2004
Hardcover : 9780791461471, 247 pages, August 2004

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Table of contents



Part I: Liberalism and Modernity


1. Liberalism: Fin de Si├Ęcle
2. A Complex Heritage
3. Toward the Comprehensive


Part II: Mind and Society: The Psychology of Individuals and Crowds


4. Citizenship and Mind
5. Psychology and Social Policy
6. New Liberal Criticism
7. The Great Society as a Model
8. The Psychology of the Great Society
9. Hobson on the Mind, the Crowd, and Disorder
10. A Century's View of the Mind


Part III: Nature: Genetics and Creative Evolution


11. Challenges to the Politics of Nature
12. Purpose in Chaos
13. Immanentism: Hobhouse on Evolution
14. Reclaiming Nature, Losing Nature


Part IV: Culture: Ritualism and Functionalism in the Study of Antiquity


15. Antiquity and Modernity
16. Classicists and Progressives
17. Moralizing Ritualism: Robertson and Burns
18. Gilbert Murray on Ritual
19. Francis Cornford on Religion and Philosophy
20. Antiquity to Postmodernity


Conclusion: The Endurance of Liberal England




Traces how progressive liberals in Edwardian Britain responded to contemporary intellectual trends.


British liberalism in the period between 1870 and 1930 was a product of an era known for its intellectual crisis. During the late nineteenth century, the cohesion of reason and enlightenment was questioned in fields ranging from psychology, sociology, philosophy, biology, philology, and archaeology. In Margins of Disorder Gal Gerson considers the ways in which progressive Edwardian liberals such as Leonard Hobhouse, John Hobson, and Graham Wallas attempted to address the shift in their period's culture. New liberalism advocated government planning and expanded state services from liberal, rather than socialist, premises, and saw the sense of belonging to a community as a distinct, right-constituting human good. Gerson examines the concepts of mind, society, nature, and culture devised by new liberals over the course of several decades, and argues in favor of viewing them as a coherent stance, relevant to today's debates about the relations between market and welfare, justice and community.

Gal Gerson is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Haifa.