Toward Ideational Collective Action: The Notions of Common Good and of the State in Late 19th Century Social Liberalism

  • Bojan Vranić Assistant professor, Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade
Keywords: collective action, coercion, social liberalism, liberty


The aim of this paper is to analyze notions of common good and of the state in late 19th century British social liberalism and their relation to collective action of the citizens. The author shows that British social liberals argued for a type of state that uses top down strategy to encourage collective action in order to transform individuals into a socially responsible groups, i.e. good citizens. The paper focuses on philosophical works of F. H. Bradley, ethics of T. H. Green and political philosophy of B. Bosanquet, analyzing their efforts to reconceptualize ideas of classical liberalism and utilitarian doctrine of the individual, society and the state in light of emerging influence of leftist social movements. The author argues that the works of British social liberals are a foundation of the state and society which will dominate liberalism in the second half of 20th century, i.e. the idea of the welfare state.


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