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Ethics and Politics in Contemporary Theory Between Critical Theory and Post-Marxism by Mark Devenney

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6    The politics of subjectivity

Introduction

For much of the twentieth century the political imaginary of the left was dominated by the idea of collective emancipation for the macro-subject of society. Liberal thought, by contrast, starts from the premise of the self-sufficient individual and justifies political institutions through the abstraction of individuals from society. Central to both these traditions is the concept of sovereignty. Previously embodied in the office of the monarch sovereignty was, in the revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, claimed for the people. In the United States Declaration of Independence, and French Declaration of the Rights of Man a new form of politics took shape. Individual liberty, the ...

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