Au-delà de la multitude: l’État hégélien à l’épreuve du present
The article focuses on Hegel’s theory of the state in order to assess its relevance nowadays. As Rosanvallon points out, we face with the emergence of a «negative sovereignty»: a problematic field which concerns the process of depoliticisation as well as the weakening of social and political mediation in favour of an aggregate of individuals holding rights and enjoying freedoms. The purpose of the essay is to highlight that certain issues, such as the risk of confusing people with society and political disaffection, have been already argued by Hegel in the Elements of the Philosophy of Right. In that book he stresses the dangers of potentially seditious individualism and, consequently, the erosion of citizens’ trust in political institutions. The first part of this paper goes through the Hegelian critique of democracy: identified with the reign of particularity, democracy ends up conflating state and civil society, reducing the people to the mass and confusing the citizen with the bourgeois. Subsequently, the article focuses on civil society as a moment marked by naturalness and competitive struggle, whereas the state accomplishes the task of defending the society from itself. Behind the criticism of democracy and the rejection of a global civil society lies a precise conception of the state: it goes hand in hand with the distancing from an atomistic conception, incapable neither of producing an order within the internal conflicts of the system of needs nor of generating the political disposition necessary for individuals to develop the ethos of citizenship. Hence, in spite of the limits of the constitutional monarchy model, the topicality of the Hegelian concept of the state lies in its emphasis on the inescapable role of politics: given that the people always tend to be multitude, politics proves to be the only point of conjunction between anomic and conflicting forces.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Sabina Tortorella, "Au-delà de la multitude: l’État hégélien à l’épreuve du present" in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2021) XXIII/2", EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, 2021, pp. 77-102
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