This book is concerned with the way in which the concept of the state was invoked in British political argument between 1880 and 1914. It central claim is that the decades bracketing the turn of the century witnessed a significant change in the prevailing terms of British political discourse - that the concept of the state, hitherto a relative stranger to British debate, emerged as a key component of the idiom in which critical reflection on politics was cast. James Meadowcroft surveys the ways in which the state was understood in this period, and also presents a detailed analysis of the conceptions of the state in the work of six prominent theorists: Herbert Spencer, Hugh Cecil, Bernard Bosanquet, L T Hobhouse, J A Hobson and Ramsay MacDonald.
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