chapter  4
20 Pages

Varieties of self-emancipatory experience

French and Anglo-Saxon cultures of self-emancipation
WithDaniel Fletcher

This chapter considers argument more critically and uses it to launch a discussion on the history and development of liberalist culture in Western society. It postulates that instead of envisaging a French-centred, carved-out space for associational democracy within an Anglo-Saxon-centred, atomised liberal order–as Bourg seems to do–it is more insightful to focus on the way in which egalitarian-associational tendencies have emerged as essential features of a liberalist Western culture. The chapter explores the intertwined histories of liberalist culture in the Anglo-Saxon world and in France, drawing into question the clear distinction Bourg creates between the Anglo-Saxon liberal-individualist tradition and the French republican-democratic tradition. Richard Branson, for example, emerged from such culture to tap into its youth music scene, offering a service that enabled young people to buy into their cultural expression. The chapter also suggests that Anglo-Saxon culture is underpinned by a self-emancipatory ethos that drives individuals to seek out others to develop new social forms.