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Civilization and Self-Government The Political Thought of Carlo Cattaneo
978-0-7391-3752-9 • Hardback
August 2010 • $90.00 • (£57.95)
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978-0-7391-8812-5 • Paperback
October 2013 • $34.99 • (£21.95)
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Pages: 276
Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
By Filippo Sabetti
 
Political Science | History & Theory
Lexington Books
Civilization and Self-Government is the first systematic attempt to explicitly articulate the key elements of Carlo Cattaneo's pioneering attempt to advance freedom and self-government in nineteenth-century Europe. His public science combined two elements that constitute the two parts of this book: the study of incivilimento, and the art and science of self-governance. Cattaneo argued that people have to learn the arts of incivilimento before they can practice self-governance. Though a distinguishing feature of Italian political thought has been to stress the multiform nature of political rule, it was Cattaneo who first showed that it was possible, through a federal commercial republic, to harmonize and foster liberty, equality, and heterogeneity. Characteristically, he envisioned a federal commercial republic for Europe as well. Cattaneo's ideas recast, enrich, and broaden knowledge of the history of European thought beyond that generally available in English and French.This book reveals a strong affinity between Cattaneo's and Tocqueville's spirit and vision.
Filippo Sabetti is professor of political science at McGill University.
1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
2 Abbreviations of Cattaneo's Collected Works
3 Acknowledgments
Part 4 1: Introduction
Chapter 5 1: Concerns for a New Epoch
6 Cattaneo's Standing in Intellectual Life
7 A New Science of Politics for a New Age
8 The Paradigmatic Significance of Cattaneo
9 The Scope of This Inquiry
10 Notes
Chapter 11 2: The Making of a Public Intellectual
12 The Years of Apprenticeship
13 The Influence of Romagnosi
14 Similarities and Differences
15 The Years as a Journeyman
16 Conclusion
17 Notes
Part 18 2: Incivilimento
Chapter 19 3: Taking Hold of the Past
20 Point of Departure
21 Rethinking "Nosce Te Ipsum"
22 Human Thought
23 Intelligibility across Systems of Thought
24 Man in Nature
25 Man in Society and Himself
26 Accumulation of Knowledge and Human Capacities
27 Empirical Sources
28 Conclusion
29 Notes
Chapter 30 4: Civil Orders
31 Self-Recognition
32 Language
33 Shared Understanding
34 "Associated Minds"
35 "Convivenza"
36 Multiple Communities
37 Family
38 Kinship
39 The Commune as a Society of Neighbors
40 The Economy of Communal Life
41 Conclusion
42 Notes
Chapter 43 5: Diversity and Progress
44 Civilization
45 Civilization as the Progress of Humanity
46 Dating the Civilizing Process
47 Features of Civilizational Life
48 Impediments to Progress
49 Civilization as the Progress of Europe
50 Conclusion
51 Notes
Part 52 3: Self-Government
Chapter 53 6: Reorienting the Struggle
54 Sources of Inspiration
55 What Could Be Learned from the Americans?
56 "Conspiracy in Broad Daylight"
57 Building a New Cognitive Map
58 Removing Sources of Disorientation
59 Self- and Joint-Mastery
60 Conclusion
61 Notes
Chapter 62 7: Popular Self-Government
63 Liberty and Self-Governance
64 Federalist Principles
65 Uncovering Institutions of Self-Governance
66 Local Foundations
67 Historical Legacy
68 General Conditions
69 Conclusion
70 Notes
Chapter 71 8: Public Economy
72 Agriculture and Commerce
73 Reason, Emancipation, and Moral Judgment
74 Why Commerce Matters More Than Agriculture
75 Overcoming "Jealousy of Trade"
76 Fear of Trade Misplaced
77 Competition, Division of Labor, and Capital
78 Division of Labor: Diversity not Inequality
79 Protectionism Rejected
80 Nationality and Commerce
81 Prospects of Free Trade
82 Forging New Capabilities
83 Public Relief
84 Public and Private Entrepreneurship
85 Labor Contracts
86 Workers' Organizations
87 Conclusion
88 Notes
Part 89 4: Conclusion
Chapter 90 9. Pioneering a Public Science without a Name
91 A Public Science for the Future
92 Civilizational Analysis
93 Addressing Self-Governance Puzzles
94 References
95 Index
To all who are devoted to developing a firm intellectual foundation for the design of self-governing societies, I strongly recommend Filippo Sabetti's new book on the political thought of Carlo Cattaneo. Most of us want to support civilizations that are foundational for democracy, but Cattaneo recognized the deep challenges. Sabetti helps the modern reader take hold of the past so as to improve the future.
Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University, Bloomington and 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize Winner


Carlo Cattaneo has been a neglected thinker in the English speaking world. And Cattaneo's project, the creation of a public science that can serve as a public philosophy for modern civilization, has been a neglected project (though less so recently). This book makes a powerful case that this has been a mistake. It corrects our view of our intellectual past, and makes its own important contribution to that public science of 'civilization and self-government,' whose great 19th century masters were Cattaneo, Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill.
Karol Soltan, University of Maryland


Filippo Sabetti has produced a beautifully-written and richly-researched study of one of the major, if largely unknown, political thinkers of nineteenth-century Italy. In recovering the thought of Carlo Cattaneo, he not only takes us to the heart of debates about the causes of freedom and self-government but also deepens and revises our understanding of the broader traditions of liberalism and republicanism. Anyone interested in the intellectual history of Europe, and not only Italy, should read this book.
Jeremy Jennings, Queen Mary, University of London


For all its undeniable richness, modern Italian political thought has remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world to date. Gaetano Filangeri, Sismonde de Sismondi, Carlo Cattaneo, and Pellegrino Rossi produced an impressive number of original works that deserve to be retrieved from oblivion, and yet their works are either not translated into English or continue to be underestimated in the new world. Inspired by the approach of the Bloomington school of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom, Filippo Sabetti's much-awaited work on Cattaneo is a step in the right direction. It gives us the opportunity to discover a marvelously rich thinker whose ideas on liberty, civilization, self-government, and federalism can bring an important contribution to our scholarly and political debates today. In the pages of Sabetti's fascinating book, Cattaneo comes to life as our contemporary as well as the contemporary of the major thinkers of his time from Tocqueville and Guizot to Mill and Cousin. This is a highly original and broad-ranging book that will be of interest to political scientists, historians, sociologists, and philosophers.
Aurelian Craiutu, Indiana University, Bloomington, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science


This book is a contribution to social theory and the institutional features of how DeViti's vision of cooperative state might be realized in history.
Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice


The convincing case made here for the richness and depth of Cattaneo's thinking should invite renewed study of Risorgimento thought more broadly.
Journal Of Modern Italian Studies


Filippo Sabetti’s very welcome book seeks to restore Cattaneo to his rightful place in European intellectual history. He has worked painstakingly through Cattaneo’s lifework (a formidable task in itself, embracing as it does so many subdisciplines in the modern social sciences) with a view to presenting a balanced account of his overall position. Civilization and Self-Government stands alone in English; and even in relation to a much more extensive literature in Italian, Sabetti’s approach is distinctive, focusing on the lasting value of Cattaneo’s theoretical work, rather than his role in the developing politics of his day. ... In sum, Civilization and Self-Government is an impressive achievement. As political theorists, we no longer have an excuse to postpone serious study of Cattaneo. Sabetti has provided us with a first-rate guide to a European thinker of great stature.
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