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European Conceptual History
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In Search of European Liberalisms
Concepts, Languages, Ideologies
Edited by Michael Freeden, Javier Fernández-Sebastián, and Jörn Leonhard
352 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-280-9 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78920-281-6 eBook
“The essays in this volume, all written by eminent students of European history, demonstrate the great strengths of the conceptual history approach. The book makes an important and illuminating contribution to the history of liberalism in Europe, and its extensive and diverse cases provide much rich material for reflecting on the varied legacies and trajectories of liberalism, both in the past and the present. It will be of tremendous use to scholars and students of European history and the history of liberalism, as well as those wanting to see how the methods of conceptual history can be put to productive use in the exploration of political ideologies.” • History: Review of New Books
“The initiative behind the book—to sketch a history of European liberalism using the conceptual history approach—is an important one for the field. Its diverse contributions are extremely valuable, making available research and perspectives not widely known in English-language scholarship.” • Jonathan Kwan, University of Nottingham
Since the Enlightenment, liberalism as a concept has been foundational for European identity and politics, even as it has been increasingly interrogated and contested. This comprehensive study takes a fresh look at the diverse understandings and interpretations of the idea of liberalism in Europe, encompassing not just the familiar movements, doctrines, and political parties that fall under the heading of “liberal” but also the intertwined historical currents of thought behind them. Here we find not an abstract, universalized liberalism, but a complex and overlapping configuration of liberalisms tied to diverse linguistic, temporal, and political contexts.
Michael Freeden is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. His books explore modern liberal thought, the structure and history of modern ideologies, and the nature of political thinking.
Javier Fernández-Sebastián is Professor of History of Political Thought at the University of the Basque Country. He has published extensively on modern Spanish intellectual history and currently coordinates an on-going project on Iberian Atlantic conceptual transnational history.
Jörn Leonhard is Full Professor in Modern European History at Freiburg University. From 2007 to 2012 he was one of the Founding Directors of the School of History of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS). In 2015, he was elected member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences.