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Politics, violence and revolutionary virtue: reflections on Locke and Sorel

Frazer, Elizabeth and Hutchings, Kimberly (2009) Politics, violence and revolutionary virtue: reflections on Locke and Sorel. Thesis Eleven, 97. pp. 46-63. ISSN 0725-5136

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0725513608101908


John Locke (1632—1704) and Georges Sorel (1859—1922) are commonly understood as representing opposed positions vis-a-vis revolution — with Locke representing the liberal distinction between violence and politics versus Sorel's rejection of politics in its pacified liberal sense. This interpretation is shown by a close reading of their works to be misleading. Both draw a necessary link between revolution and violence, and both mediate this link through the concept of `war'. They both depoliticize revolution, as for both of them `war' is understood as extra-political. The revolutions of 1989 emphasize what actually is true of previous revolutions: they cannot coherently be thought of as extra-political.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 SAGE publications
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2010 11:46
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 05:00

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