Political Theory

Freedom and Modernity in the Thought of Ernest Gellner (1925-1995)


The aim of the conference was to study the thought of Ernest Gellner (1925–1995), particularly his work on the responses of societies to modernity, the conditions under which he believes these responses have occurred, and his speculation about their likely future implications for liberty. Special attention was given to his concept of civil society as uniquely appropriate for the social integration of what he terms “modular man,” since it opens up the possibility of extending the applicability of the civil model beyond its original European context.


Conference Readings

Gellner, Ernest. Thought and Change. London: Orion Publishing Group, 1964.

Gellner, Ernest. Plough, Sword, and Book: The Structure of Human History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Gellner, Ernest. Encounters with Nationalism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1994.

Gellner, Ernest. Conditions of Liberty: Civil Society and its Rivals. London: Penguin Books, 1994.

Gellner, Ernest. Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.

Gellner, Ernest. Muslim Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Gellner, Ernest. Postmodernism, Reason and Religion. London: Routledge, 1992.

Gellner, Ernest. Nationalism. New York: New York University Press, 1997.

Gellner, Ernest. Culture, Identity, and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.