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Type: Conference paper
Title: Two eighteenth century visions of the new civil society: Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson on the effects of modernity
Author: Hill, L.
Citation: Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 29 September – 1 October 2003 : pp. www 1-24
Publisher: Australasian Political Studies Association
Publisher Place:
Issue Date: 2003
Conference Name: Australasian Political Studies Association Conference (2003 : Hobart, Tasmania)
Editor: Jones, D.
Abstract: Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith were friends and fellow luminaries of the Scottish Enlightenment. Both were fascinated by social change, particularly in its effects upon social and political life and both wrote their early sociologies in response to it. In Ferguson’s account, much is lost in the march towards progress: community, social intimacy, intensely emotional friendships and alliances, martial vigour and civil vitality are all casualties of the commercial age. The social changes that made Ferguson so anxious, gave Smith cause for satisfaction and optimism. Market society transforms social interaction dramatically and for the better by purging relationships of their intensity and making possible less intense but more universal, ubiquitous, diffuse and pacific forms of instrumental association. Whereas Ferguson’s conception of market civil society is informed by both classical and modern world views, Smith’s vision is a categorically modern one. Thus, Smith makes a decisive break with a past about which Ferguson remains sostalgic.
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