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This article traces the invention of pluralist political language in France to a very specific ideological source: Jacques Maritain, Emmanuel Mounier, and the progressive Catholic circles that gathered around the journal Esprit in the 1930s. It shows that the dialogue with the émigré Russian Jewish sociologist Georges Gurvitch was an important influence on the Esprit circle, but also that it was Maritain rather than Gurvitch who did most to disseminate the language of pluralism. The paper thus builds on recent work according Maritain and Christian democracy a central place in the intellectual history of twentieth-century politics. It also contests the Anglo-American bias that has dominated histories of pluralism, and instead places France at the centre.
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