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Borg, S. (2023). In search of the common good: The postliberal project Left and Right. European Journal of Social Theory0(0).


This article contributes to an understanding of the backlash against liberalism by reconstructing the emergence and development of an increasingly influential strand of Anglo-American thought that challenges liberalism, known as postliberalism. The central diagnostic claim of postliberalism is that the two dominant forms of post-WW2 liberalism, market liberalism and social liberalism, instead of being somehow opposed, have coalesced around an all-encompassing sociopolitical project that above all else seeks to maximize individual autonomy. As a result, postliberals hold, the liberal order has become increasingly unable to cultivate the communal resources on which human sociability depends and erodes the values liberalism purportedly defends. The article argues that a central, albeit not necessarily insurmountable, challenge for postliberalism lies in moving from a critique of liberalism to proposed remedies for its perceived deficiencies, without slipping into a political project with clear illiberal rather than merely non-liberal implications.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.