Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 8
  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: June 2012

22 - Theories and Practices of Neocorporatism


The modern territorial state and the capitalist market economy superseded a political–economic order that consisted of a plethora of corporate communities endowed with traditional rights and obligations, such as churches, estates, cities, and guilds. Organized collectivities of all sorts, more or less closely related to the economic division of labor, regulated cooperation and competition among their members and negotiated their relations with each other. While themselves changing under the impact of modernization, they often resisted the rise of territorial bureaucratic rule and the spread of market relations, sometimes well into the twentieth century. But ultimately they proved unable to prevent the victory of the state form of political organization and of the self-regulating market as the dominant site of economic exchange. Modern liberalism, both political and economic, in turn aimed at abolishing all forms of intermediary organization that intervene between the individual and the state or the market. In the end, however, it failed to eliminate collectivism and had to accommodate itself to both political faction and economic cooperation.

Twenty-first-century political communities are all organized by territorial nation-states. But these had to learn to incorporate organized collectivities and elements of a collective–associative order in their different configurations of bureaucratic hierarchy and free markets. Variation among modern types of government, between the utopian extremes of anarchosyndicalism and Rousseauian radical liberalism, rotates around the relationship between territorial and associative rule (Table 22.1).

Related content

Powered by UNSILO