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Marcel Gauchet and Pierre Manent's critique of the politics of human rights within the framework of the reflections of the founders of the Raymond Aron Institute: the relationship between liberalism and politics

Grant number: 21/13308-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2022
Effective date (End): October 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Principal researcher:Luiz Damon Santos Moutinho
Grantee:Felipe Freller
Supervisor abroad: Philippe Urfalino
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), France  
Associated to the scholarship:21/03135-0 - From the critique of totalitarianism to the rediscovery of liberalism: an inquiry into the theoretical and political uses of the liberal tradition by the French school of the political, BP.PD


The critiques of totalitarianism formulated in the 1970s hold profound impact in contemporary French political thought. In the intellectual environment characterized by this theme, François Furet leads, from 1977 on, a study group at EHESS that brings together, among others, Claude Lefort, Cornelius Castoriadis, Marcel Gauchet, Pierre Manent, and Pierre Rosanvallon, resulting in the foundation of the Raymond Aron Institute, in 1984. Despite common starting points - the critique of totalitarianism, the primacy of the political, and the rediscovery of the liberal classics -, important divergences on the philosophical and political status of human rights have emerged from within this group at least since the early 1980s. Gauchet and Manent stand out in this controversy by criticizing Lefort's attempt to ground democratic politics on the rights of man. The aim of this research project is to propose a new interpretation of this critique of the politics of human rights by placing it in the discussions of the founding group of the Raymond Aron Institute in the 1970s and 1980s. Our hypothesis is that Gauchet and Manent's critique of the rights of man can be interpreted as an extension of Rosanvallon's critique of "utopian liberalism." However, while Rosanvallon criticizes liberalism based on the market model while valuing liberalism based on the defense of the rights of man, Gauchet and Manent believe that the human rights model is as depoliticizing as the market model. Our aim is to place the relationship between liberalism and politics at the center of the investigation, calling into question the depoliticizing character of liberalism for Gauchet and Manent.

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