Challenging Modern Artificialism

  • Andy Scerri


By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the unprecedented expansion of industrial production increased the importance to social reproduction of manufacturing workers as a social class. Increased global inter-state competition for markets and resources, as well as concerns over military security, created a sense of urgency around questions of working and social conditions in general. The state and economy required a compromise that would secure industrial and political peace. Meanwhile, the working class itself began to organize with the aim of achieving ‘full’ citizenship rights, up to and including a just share of the profits of industrial development. It is in this context that a socialistic critique of industrial society and the social claims of citizenship were pushed to the centre of the political sphere. If we once more pick up the critical pragmatists’ line of argument, what becomes apparent in conditions of industrialization is a shift in the way that political compromise over the social bond is enframed. The bourgeois citizenship-based conceptions of freedom, equality and autonomy that had been central to the mercantile state were, with the expansion of industrialization, partially eclipsed by the emergence of cultural and political tensions over the redistribution of economic wealth amongst formally free, equal and autonomous citizens.


Welfare State Institutional Arrangement Social Bond Shadow Economy Political Sphere 
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© Andy Scerri 2012

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