Stefano Petrucciani

Socialism between History and Principles

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The essay consists of two parts. In the first one the author discusses the difficulties implied in defining socialism as a political-theoretical concept, and summarizes the many ways in which socialism has been understood, defined and put into practice in the last two centuries. In the second part, with reference to the works of J. Roemer and J. A. Cohen, the essay aims at identifying the principles that might characterize socialism as a political perspective. In particular, the author points out that in socialism, differently from liberalism, society is understood as a form of cooperation for the satisfaction of human needs and necessities through work: therefore, the norms of the social pact must concern, in the first instance, the sphere of work and material reproduction. In the concluding part of the essay, the relationship between socialism ad democracy is briefly considered.

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