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GIVING GROUND: EXPLORING NON-COERCIVE POLITICS

by Chandler, Eric B.

Abstract (Summary)
This essay has a dual objective. First, it aims to provide a formal definition of non-coercive politics (NCP), and discuss some implications of the concept. Second, it evaluates three political alternatives in terms of each theory’s capacity for meeting the definition of NCP. Chapter 1 provides a formal definition: In NCP, members (1) exercise ‘volition’ in learning the social norms associated with their community (i.e. socialization is internally realized); and (2) exercise ‘volition’ in adhering to those same social norms (i.e. compliance is internally realized). Chapters 2 – 4 assess, in turn, whether liberalism, antifoundationalism, or esotericism meets the definition of NCP. Each evaluation proceeds by analysing the metaphysical components of the prescriptive theory, and comparing the results with the requirements set out in the formal definition of NCP. The heuristic guiding the evaluation comprises three questions: 1. Does the prescriptive theory preclude coercion relative to socialization (the acquisition of social norms)? 2. Does the prescriptive theory preclude coercion relative to compliance (the enforcement of social norms)? 3. Does the prescriptive theory preclude coercion relative to political obligation (i.e. does obligation derive from a Universal)? Chapter 5 concludes that while each theory has some of the necessary components of NCP, both liberalism and antifoundationalism prove to be incompatible in certain respects. In short, neither theory offers a practical means for attaining a non-coercive politics. Esotericism proves to be fully compatible with NCP, but faces another problem: it is least compatible with the prevailing culture of modern industrial societies. While the premise of NCP is consistent with both explicit and implicit ideals of contemporary politics, it amounts to a foreign concept. Additionally, NCP at times conflicts with other explicit and accepted requirements of contemporary politics. The result is something of a Catch-22: Only by altering certain requirements of modern politics is NCP likely to become a practical alternative; yet, because such an approach necessarily alters the nature of modern politics itself, there is little incentive within industrial society to make the relevant changes.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:non coercive politics political theory antifoundationalism esotericism liberalism metaphysics

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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