Pierre Rosanvallon is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History of Politics at the College de France.
The best available treatment of equality as a condition of the
common life. -- Michael Ignatieff
In a rich and illuminating work of political theory and historical interpretation, Pierre Rosanvallon traces the rise and fall of the ideal of equality, from the American and French Revolutions to the present. And he argues for reviving equality as a moral and political project. The 'society of equals' he favors is less about redistribution than about recovering commonality as the basis of social relations. At a time when the welfare state has lost its capacity to inspire, Rosanvallon, one of Europe's most distinguished political theorists, offers a way of recasting the case for a more equal society. -- Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
French political theorist Pierre Rosanvallon takes fresh stock of the ideal of equality in The Society of Equals, an ambitious bid to revive egalitarian thought in a global economy that no longer recognizes any moral or political legitimacy in schemes to redistribute wealth--let alone in more modest efforts to expand access to basic social goods such as health care, housing, or education...Rosanvallon deftly traces the slow collapse of the egalitarian tradition, mainly in the counterposed trajectories of French and American political thought.
-- Chris Lehmann * Bookforum *
The idea of equality often evokes heated passions...Pierre Rosanvallon, one of France's leading public intellectuals, has stepped into this minefield to provide a thoughtful work.
-- Daniel Bel-Ami * Financial Times *
During the American and French revolutions, striving for liberty and achieving equality were not seen as contradictory. Modern notions of individualism and individual choice have undermined that bond: we pay merely lip service to equality while our body politic has never been less inclined to correct unequal distribution of income and wealth. Rosanvallon warns us what is at stake here: modern democracy will not survive if it avoids the question of equality. -- Andreas Hess * Times Higher Education *
The Society of Equals...is a work of both history and political philosophy: a sweeping historical analysis of equality since the American and French Revolutions and an effort to reconstruct the understanding of equality for a new 'age of singularity' when 'everyone wants to "be someone."'...Does [Rosanvallon] solve the contemporary puzzles about inequality? I don't think so. But he analyzes them in so illuminating a way that anyone interested in understanding and reversing the surge in inequality should read his work...Greater economic equality is certainly not inevitable; it will require thought and political organization to make the most of the opportunities that history affords, and Rosanvallon's Society of Equals is one of the resources to carry along on that journey. -- Paul Starr * New York Review of Books *