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dc.contributor.advisorBreaugh, Martin
dc.contributor.authorLevy-Tessier, Maxime Alexandre
dc.description.abstractThe following dissertation investigates the connection between the division of labour, political subjection and the psychology of authority in Adam Smiths body of work to further his analysis of commercial societies. By shedding light on this connection, I endeavour to examine what Smith under-theorizes: how power relations are organized in commercial societies to account for their historical specificity. Although this dissertation focuses on what remains under-theorized in Smiths account of commercial societies, it proceeds through an internal critique of his system of thought. In other words, I use what Smith says about commercial societies as a springboard to say something new about them on his terms. In so doing, I aim to show that there are still unexplored avenues to Smiths conceptual framing of commercial societies that provide relevant insights on how societies organize power in the age of manufacturing and the free-market. Although recent scholarship is amenable to reading Smith as a multidisciplinary thinker, his reflections on the division of labour, political subjection and the psychology of authority are still treated separately within his political theory. Typically, Smiths account of the division of labour in Wealth of Nations is used to discuss his economic theory. It seldom connects to his politics and where it does, the discussion is usually limited to Smiths ideas on government expenditure as a mitigating force against the worst moral and economic excesses of commercial societies. This has fuelled the widespread and false impression that Smiths politics rarely go beyond the role of the State in economic affairs. For its part, Smiths principles of government in Lectures on Jurisprudence (from which his ideas on political subjection derive) are usually referenced to challenge this false impression by emphasizing his engagement with the latest political debates of his time. This separates Smiths politics from his economics even further by emphasizing their distinction and thus, discourages any exploration of how the negative social effects of the division of labour prepare political subjection in commercial societies. The same can be said for Smiths psychological account of authority in Theory of Moral Sentiments: while it is sometimes broached alongside his principles of government, its relationship to the organization of labour in commercial societies is never fully developed. By bringing these themes together, I intend to engage in a more comprehensive discussion of Smiths politics to better account for the organization and distribution of power in commercial societies.
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dc.titleRevisiting Adam Smith and the Politics of Commercial Societies
dc.typeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation & Political Thought - Doctor of Philosophy
dc.subject.keywordsAdam Smith
dc.subject.keywordsDivision of Labour
dc.subject.keywordsPolitical Subjection

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