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Collingwood's New Leviathan and classical elite theory

Fear, Christopher



R. G. Collingwood's New Leviathan (1942) presents an account of two ‘dialectical’ political processes that are ongoing in any body politic. Existing scholarship has already covered the first: a dialectic between a ‘social’ and a ‘non-social’ element, which Collingwood identifies in Hobbes. This essay elucidates a second: a dialectic between Liberals and Conservatives, which regulates the ‘percolation’ of liberty and the rate of recruitment into what Collingwood calls ‘the ruling class’. The details of this second dialectic are to be found not in Hobbes, but in the work of Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca, yet Collingwood's connections to these fathers of ‘classical elite theory’ have not previously been discussed.


Fear, C. (2019). Collingwood's New Leviathan and classical elite theory. History of European ideas, 45(7), 1029-1044.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 23, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 17, 2019
Publication Date Oct 3, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 19, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 18, 2020
Journal History of European Ideas
Print ISSN 0191-6599
Electronic ISSN 1873-541X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 7
Pages 1029-1044
Keywords R. G. Collingwood; Gaetano Mosca; Vilfredo Pareto; Elites; Ruling class; Aristocracy
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