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Political Deference in a Democratic Age

British Politics and the Constitution from the Eighteenth Century to Brexit

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Unpacks the changing concept of political deference from the eighteenth century to the present day

  • Argues that deference continues to play a significant role in legitimising British politics

  • Combines close readings of theoretical texts with analyses of legal changes and historical events to highlight key moments in the development of deference

Buying options

eBook USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-62539-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction: Why ‘Deference’?

    • Catherine Marshall
    Pages 1-14
  3. Theory of Deference from the Eighteenth Century to 1911—Definitions in Context

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 15-15
    2. The Constitution of Political Deference

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 17-46
    3. Deference and the Politics of Notables

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 47-66
    4. Walter Bagehot, the ‘Darwin of Deference’

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 67-93
  4. Part II

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 125-126
    2. The Challenges to Voluntary Deference (1911–1945)

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 127-175
    3. Voluntary Deference in Crisis (1945–1972)

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 177-230
    4. The Rejection of Rational Deference (1973–1997)

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 231-278
    5. The ‘Afterlife’ of Deference (1997–2016)

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 279-305
    6. Conclusion: Deference for the Democratic Age

      • Catherine Marshall
      Pages 307-324
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 325-354

About this book

This book explores the concept of deference as used by historians and political scientists. Often confused and judged to be outdated, it shows how deference remains central to understanding British politics to the present day. This study aims to make sense of how political deference has functioned in different periods and how it has played a crucial role in legitimising British politics. It shows how deference sustained what are essentially English institutions, those which dominated the Union well into the second half of the twentieth century until the post-1997 constitutional transformations under New Labour. While many dismiss political and institutional deference as having died out, this book argues that a number of recent political decisions – including the vote in favour of Brexit in June 2016 – are the result of a deferential way of thinking that has persisted through the democratic changes of the twentieth century. Combining close readings of theoretical texts with analyses of specific legal changes and historical events, the book charts the development of deference from the eighteenth century through to the present day. Rather than offering a comprehensive history of deference, it picks out key moments that show the changing nature of deference, both as a concept and as a political force.

Catherine Marshall is Professor of British Studies at CY Cergy Paris Université, France. Her research focuses mainly on the history of ideas in mid-Victorian England and the legacy of some of those ideas on twentieth and twenty-first century Britain. She teaches British history and the history of political ideas.



Keywords

  • British politics
  • Bagehot
  • English Constitution
  • Democracy
  • Constitutional history
  • Legitimacy of power
  • Long duree
  • Legal changes
  • Governance

Reviews

“Her timely book offers a rare combination of comprehensive historical scholarship and critical political insight which makes it indispensable reading for those interested in both the past and the present of Anglo-British constitutionalism. It deserves, indeed, to become a standard reference work on that subject.” (Noel O’Sullivan, Cercles, cercles.com, March 15, 2021)

​“This is a fine piece of work and one which seeks to explain a very important, and much-neglected, dimension of the distinctive character of British politics.”
—Jeremy Jennings, Professor of Political Theory, King’s College, London

“This is a work of great originality and excellent quality of scholarship, displaying an unusual degree of imaginative engagement with a contemporary issue with the aid of a deep historical understanding of the cultural and political context in which the contemporary issue arose and is played out.”
— Georgios Varouxakis, Professor of the History of Political Thought, Queen Mary University, London

Authors and Affiliations

  • CY Cergy Paris Université, Cergy-Pontoise, France

    Catherine Marshall

About the author

Catherine Marshall is Professor of British Studies at CY Cergy Paris Université, France. Her research focuses mainly on the history of ideas in mid-Victorian England and the legacy of some of those ideas on twentieth and twenty-first century Britain. She teaches British history and the history of political ideas.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Political Deference in a Democratic Age

  • Book Subtitle: British Politics and the Constitution from the Eighteenth Century to Brexit

  • Authors: Catherine Marshall

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-62539-9

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: History, History (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-62538-2

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-62541-2

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-62539-9

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: X, 354

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Intellectual History, Political History, History of Britain and Ireland, Legal History

Buying options

eBook USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-62539-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)