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Catholic Intellectuals and the Invention of Pluralism in France

  • H. S. Jones (a1)


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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1 Müller, Jan-Werner, What is Populism? (Philadelphia, 2016), passim.

2 Britain's priority is emphasized by Barker, Rodney, “The Pluralism of British Pluralism,” Journal of Political Ideologies 14/1 (2009), 31–45, at 34; America's by Zunz, Olivier, “Genèse du pluralisme américain,” Annales: Histoire, sciences sociales 42/2 (1987), 429–44, at 429. See also Barker, Rodney, “Pluralism, Revenant or Recessive?”, in Hayward, Jack, Barry, Brian and Brown, Archie, eds., The British Study of Politics in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 1999), 117–45, at 123–4.

3 Nicholls, David, The Pluralist State (London, 1975); Hirst, Paul Q., ed., The Pluralist Theory of the State: Selected Writings of G. D. H. Cole, J. N. Figgis and H. J. Laski (London, 1989); Runciman, David, Pluralism and the Personality of the State (Cambridge, 1997); Stears, Marc, Progressives, Pluralists, and the Problems of the State Ideologies of Reform in the United States and Britain, 1909–1926 (Oxford, 2006); Bevir, Mark, ed., Modern Pluralism: Anglo-American Debates since 1880 (Cambridge, 2012). On American pluralism see Gunnell, John G., “The Genealogy of American Pluralism: From Madison to Behavioralism,” International Political Science Review 17/3 (1996), 253–65.

4 For this argument see Runciman, Pluralism, especially chaps. 3–5.

5 Müller, Jan-Werner, Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe (New Haven and London, 2011), 51.

6 Laborde, Cécile, Pluralist Thought and the State in Britain and France, 1900–25 (Basingstoke, 2000).

7 Some examples: Rosanvallon, Pierre, The Demands of Liberty: Civil Society in France since the Revolution (Cambridge, MA and London, 2007), 9; Rosanvallon, , La légitimité démocratique: Impartialité, réflexivité, proximité (Paris, 2008), 51. On Rosanvallon's pluralism see Chabal, Émile, A Divided Republic: Nation, State and Citizenship in Contemporary France (Cambridge, 2015), chap. 7; and Jainchill, Andrew and Moyn, Samuel, “French Democracy between Totalitarianism and Solidarity: Pierre Rosanvallon and Revisionist Historiography,” Journal of Modern History 76/1 (2004), 107–54.

8 d'Estaing, V. Giscard, Démocratie française (Paris, 1976), chap. 6, esp. 96–7, 99, 104. For Bayrou see interview on RTL, 13 Feb. 2012, at “Orleanism” is the term used by René Rémond to label this strand of the French centre right: Rémond, René, Les droites en France (Paris, 1982), esp. 294304 (on Giscardisme and Orleanism).

11 F. W. Maitland, “Moral Personality and Legal Personality” (1903), reprinted in Runciman, David and Ryan, Magnus, eds., State, Trust and Corporation (Cambridge, 2003), 6274, at 66; Figgis, John Neville, Churches in the Modern State (London, 1913), 23–4, 56. Jan-Werner Müller notes that “Pluralist thinkers had been deeply impressed by Germany's Kulturkampf”: Bismarck's (perceived) defeat proved to them that “all-powerful state sovereignty was an illusion.” Müller, Contesting Democracy, 51.

12 Laski, Harold J., Authority in the Modern State (New Haven, 1919), ix.

13 Wright, A. W., G. D. H. Cole and Socialist Democracy (Oxford, 1979), 73. Cole's library is held at Nuffield College, Oxford.

14 Key contributions include Wright, Julian, The Regionalist Movement in France, 1890–1914: Jean Charles-Brun and French Political Thought (Oxford, 2003); Rosanvallon, The Demands of Liberty; Topalov, Christian, ed., Laboratoires du nouveau siècle: La nébuleuse réformatrice et ses réseaux en France (1880–1914) (Paris, 1999); Wright, Julian and Jones, H. S., eds., Pluralism and the Idea of the Republic in France (Basingstoke, 2012); and Chatriot, Alain, La démocratie sociale à la française: L’éxpérience du Conseil national économique (Paris, 2003).

15 On republicanism the classic study remains Nicolet, Claude, L'idée répubicaine en France (Paris, 1994); on solidarism the key works are Audier, Serge, Léon Bourgeois: Fonder la solidarité (Paris, 2007); and Blais, Marie-Claude, La solidarité: Histoire d'une idée (Paris, 2007); as well as Ewald, François, L’État providence (Paris, 1986). The republican origins of the campaign for the reform of the state are emphasized by Wright, The Regionalist Movement in France, esp. chap. 2.

16 I draw here on “word history,” as practiced, for instance, by Dixon, Thomas, The Invention of Altruism: Making Moral Meanings in Victorian Britain (Oxford, 2008), esp. 3340.

17 Skinner, Quentin, “Language and Political Change,” in Ball, Terence, Farr, James and Hanson, Russell L., eds., Political Innovation and Conceptual Change (Cambridge, 1989), 623, at 8.

18 This is the practice adopted in Wright and Jones, Pluralism and the Idea of the Republic.

19 The dates were selected on this basis: 1915 was the date when Laski first used the term, and thus marks the beginnings of a self-conscious anglophone political pluralism. By 1955, the term was well entrenched in the emerging literature on democracy and totalitarianism.

20 In JSTOR—which is admittedly weighted towards academic journals and the serious periodical press, there were 167 hits for the period from 1915 to 32 (eighteen years) and 178 for the period from 1933 to 1940 (eight years). In the latter period, Esprit alone accounted for eighty-two hits. Those eighty-two usages in Esprit were overwhelmingly sociopolitical rather than philosophical.

21 There is a large literature on Esprit, including de Senarclens, Pierre, Le mouvement “Esprit” 1932–1941 (Lausanne, 1974); and Winock, Michel, Histoire politique de la revue Esprit, 1930–1950 (Paris, 1975). On Sept see Coutrot, Aline, Un courant de la pensée catholique: L'hebdomadaire “Sept” (mars 1934–août 1937) (Paris, 1961).

22 Maritain, Jacques, Du régime temporel et de la liberté (Paris, 1933). Literally “The Temporal Regime and Liberty,” this appeared in English as Freedom in the Modern World (New York, 1936). Maritain, Jacques, Humanisme intégral: Problèmes temporels et spirituels d'une nouvelle chrétienté (Paris, 1936). This had been published in Spanish in 1935, and a version of chap. 2 was incorporated into Maritain, , “Deux essais pour un nouvel humanisme,” Esprit 37 (1935), 80117. By contrast, in his collected works for the period from 1929 to 1932, the sole use of pluralisme and the sole use of pluraliste were in the strictly philosophical sense. Maritain, Distinguer pour unir ou les degrés du savoir (1932), in Oeuvres Complètes de Jacques et Raïssa Maritain, 17 vols., Paris (1982–2007) (henceforth OC), 4: 257–952, at 619; and Maritain, Le docteur angélique (1930), OC, 4: 1–191, at 68.

23 Jacques Maritain, Du régime temporel et de la liberté, OC, 5: 319–515, at 371.

24 Maritain, Du régime temporel, OC, 5: 376.

25 Maritain, Humanisme intégral, OC, 6: 293–642, at 476. The French is “une structure organique impliquant un certain pluralisme, beaucoup plus poussé que celui du moyen âge.”

26 Maritain, Humanisme intégral, 177: “une hétérogénéité organique dans la structure même de la société civile.” OC, 6: 476–7.

27 Maritain, Humanisme intégral, 177. In the middle of this statement came a quotation from Pius XI's encyclical Quadragesimo Anno. OC, 6: 477.

28 Maritain, Jacques, Questions de conscience (Paris, 1938), 8690. On Maritain's discussion of anti-Semitism see Crane, Richard Francis, “Surviving Maurras: Jacques Maritain's Jewish Question,” Patterns of Prejudice 42/4–5 (2008), 385411.

29 Maritain, Jacques, Les droits de l'homme et la loi naturelle (New York, 1942); Maritain, , Education at the Crossroads (New Haven, 1943), 75, 92. When the latter was published in French as L’éducation à la croisée des chemins (Paris, 1947) it included an appendix on “Le problème de l’école publique en France” which had frequent recourse to pluralist language, e.g. at 208, 211, 217.

30 Moyn, Samuel, Christian Human Rights (Philadelphia, 2015), 82.

31 Maritain, Droits de l'homme, OC, 7: 619–95, at 631–2.

32 These are explored by Hellman, John, “Maritain and Mounier: A Secret Quarrel over the Future of the Church,” Review of Politics 42/2 (1980), 152–66. Elsewhere Hellman calls Maritain “le plus célèbre démissionnaire du mouvement personnaliste”: Hellman, , “Personnalisme et fascisme,” in d'Astorg, Bertrand, ed., Le personnalisme d'Emmanuel Mounier (Paris, 1985), 116–42, at 123, but that exaggerates the extent of the rift.

33 For example, Programme pour 1935,” Esprit 27 (1934), 355–6 at 356; editorial note to Dami, Aldo, “La crise de la démocratie et la réforme de l’État: VI.—Les remèdes,” Esprit 27 (1934), 433–69, at 433; Chronique des amis d’Esprit,” Esprit 27 (1934), 533–7, at 534; editorial note to Labrousse, Roger, “Le problème éthico-juridique de la communauté dans la tradition française classique,” Esprit 28 (1935), 622–36, at 636; Mounier, Emmanuel, “Révolution communautaire,” Esprit 28 (1935), 548–80, at 580. This last piece formed part of a volume he published later in the year, Révolution personnaliste et communautaire (Paris, 1935), where this passage is at 209.

34 Mounier cited the collective volume in Personalist Manifesto (London, 1938), 239. The prospect of a special issue was signaled by Mounier, Emmanuel, “Conversation à l’étape,” Esprit 35/6 (1935), 667–73, at 672.

35 Mounier, Personalist Manifesto.

36 Mounier, Personalist Manifesto, 238–9, 249–50. In the last case, “pluralist state” translates “cité pluraliste.”

37 James Chappel, “Slaying the Leviathan: Catholicism and the Rebirth of European Conservatism, 1920–1950” (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University, 2012), 166.

38 Simon, P. Henri, “Principe de l’État pluraliste,” Sept 145 (1936), 4; and Simon, , “Schéma d'un État pluraliste,” Sept 147 (1936), 4.

39 Prélot, Marcel, “Personne et société politique,” La personne humaine en péril: Sommaire des leçons de la XXIXe session des Semaines sociales de France, tenue à Clermont-Ferrand du 19 au 25 juillet 1937 (Lyon, 1937), 84–8.

40 Marcel Prélot, “Des conditions présentes d'un régime de liberté,” Politique, Oct. 1937, reprinted in Prélot, Marcel and Genuys, Françoise Gallouédec, eds., Le libéralisme catholique (Paris, 1969), 389–93.

41 Prélot, Marcel, Histoire des idées politiques (Paris, 1959), 620.

42 Laski, Harold J., “The Sovereignty of the State,” in Laski, Studies in the Problem of Sovereignty (New Haven, 1917), 125.

43 The first book-length study of pluralist political thought was by a scholar, Chinese, Hsaio, K. S., Political Pluralism: A Study in Contemporary Political Theory (London, 1927).

44 Laski, “The Sovereignty of the State,” 6, 11, 21. On Laski's invention of the vocabulary of pluralism, and on his (limited) debt to the pragmatists, see Runciman, Pluralism, 178–80.

45 The sole exception is a substantial article by Hoog, Armand, “Les théories d'Harold Laski et le pluralisme démocratique,” Archives de philosophie du droit et de sociologie juridique 7/1–2 (1937), 140–65.

46 Maritain, Jacques, Man and the State (Chicago, 1951), 22–3 n. 14.

47 Sorel specifically cited James as one of the few philosophers who had “received” pluralist doctrine. Sorel's pluralism is highlighted by Eric Wendeborn Brandom, “Georges Sorel, Autonomy and Violence in the Third Republic” (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Duke University, 2012), esp. chap. 3.

48 J. Bourdeau, “La sociologie de M. Durkheim,” Journal des débats, 31 Jan. 1911, 1. See also Bourdeau, , Pragmatisme et modernisme (Paris, 1909). For the wider reception of pragmatism in France see Pudal, Romain, “Enjeux et usages du pragmatisme en France (1880–1920),” Revue française de sociologie 52/4 (2011), 747–75.

49 Bouglé, Célestin, Sociologie de Proudhon (Paris, 1911), 325–6.

50 Julian Wright's work has been notably important in rehabilitating this neglected socialist tradition: e.g. Wright, Julian, “Socialism and Political Identity: Eugène Fournière and Intellectual Militancy in the Third Republic,” French Historical Studies 36/3 (2013), 449478. On Leroy see Zylberman, Patrick, “Maxime Leroy, analyste du déclin de la loi révolutionnaire,” History of European Ideas 11/1–6 (1989), 83–8; and Chatriot, Alain, “Maxime Leroy, la réforme par le syndicalisme,” Mil neuf cent: Revue d'histoire intellectuelle 24 (2006), 7394.

51 Bosserman, Phillip, “The Twentieth Century's Saint-Simon: Georges Gurvitch's Dialectical Sociology and the New Physics,” Sociological Theory 13/1 (1995), 4857, at 48. Gurvitch's pluralism is discussed by Joshua Humphreys, “Utopian pluralism in twentieth-century France,” in Wright and Jones, Pluralism and the Idea of the Republic, 122–37.

52 Gurwitsch, Georg (sic), “Otto v. Gierke als Rechtsphilosoph,” Logos: Internationale Zeitschrift für Philosophie der Kultur 11 (1922), 92–3.

53 For the influence of Proudhon and Bergson on Gurvitch see Bosserman, Phillip, Dialectical Sociology: An Analysis of the Sociology of Georges Gurvitch (Boston, 1968), 9, 1112; and Gurvitch, Georges, “Mon itinéraire intellectuel” (1958), L'homme et la société 1/1 (1966), 312, at 5–6; for Gurvitch's references to Duguit and Hauriou see Gurwitsch, “Otto v. Gierke,” 131. Laski introduced American political scientists to the work of Duguit: Laski, Harold J., “A Note on M. Duguit,” Harvard Law Review 31/1 (1917), 186–92. Harold and Frida Laski translated one of Léon Duguit's key works: Law in the Modern State (New York, 1919).

54 Jones, H. S., The French State in Question: Public Law and Political Argument in the Third Republic (Cambridge, 1993), chaps. 6–7.

55 Gurvitch, Georges, “Les idées-maîtresses de Maurice Hauriou,” Archives de philosophie de droit et de sociologie juridique 1 (1931), 155–94.

56 Gurwitch, “Otto v. Gierke,” 131.

57 Gurvitch, “Mon itinéraire intellectuel,” 9.

58 Gurvitch, Georges, Les tendances actuelles de la philosophie allemande (Paris, 1930).

59 Gurvitch, “Mon itinéraire intellectuel,” 6. The importance of Russian influences on Gurvitch's thought is underlined in Antonov, Mikhaïl and Berthold, Étienne, “Sources russes de la pensée de Georges Gurvitch: Écrits de jeunesse dans les Annales contemporaines (1924–1931),” Cahiers internationaux de sociologie 121 (2006), 197226.

60 Gurvitch, Georges, “Théorie pluraliste des sources du droit positif,” Annuaire de l'Institut international de la philosophie du droit et de sociologie juridique 1 (1934–5), 114–44.

61 Gurvitch, Georges, “Le principe démocratique et la démocratie future,” Revue de métaphysique et de morale 36/3 (1929), 403–31.

62 Gurvitch, Georges, La déclaration des droits sociaux (Paris, 1946), 109–10. This text was first published in New York in 1944.

63 “Le pluralisme et les libertés,” letter from Gurvitch to the editor, Le Monde, 22 Aug. 1946, 5; and “Le pluralisme et les libertés,” response from Charles Flory, Le Monde, 27 Sept. 1946, 5. Flory was president of the Semaines sociales, a close associate of Marcel Prélot, and later a senator.

64 Laborde, Pluralist Thought and the State, 185 n. 12.

65 Gurvitch, “Le principe démocratique et la démocratie future,” 403–31; Gurvitch, Georges, L'expérience juridique et la philosophie pluraliste du droit (Paris, 1935), subheading at 254. The only previous instance came, significantly, in Gurvitch's first contribution to Esprit, where he wrote that liberalism today presupposes the achievement of industrial democracy and a pluralism of organizations. Gurvitch, Georges, “Libéralisme et communisme: Réponse à M. Ramon Fernandez,” Esprit 21 (1 June 1934), 449. Significantly, Gurvitch was here responding to a paper presented by Fernandez to the Union pour la vérité just a few days after Maritain, in the same series, had spoken to the Union pour la vérité about his conception of pluralism: Jacques Maritain, “De la liberté dans une chrétienté moderne,” OC, 5: 1042–51, at 1045–7.

66 A notable exception is Fourcade, Michel, “Jacques Maritain et l'Europe en exil (1940–1945),” in Hubert, Bernard, ed., Jacques Maritain en Europe: La réception de sa pensée (Paris, 1996), 281320, where Maritain's wartime exchanges with Gurvitch are briefly discussed at 312–13. But there is no reference to Gurvitch in Doering, Bernard E., Jacques Maritain and the French Catholic Intellectuals (Notre Dame and London, 1983); and neither are Maritain, Mounier, or Esprit referenced in Balandier, Georges, Gurvitch (Paris, 1972). Loubet del Bayle's classic study of the nonconformists of the 1930s refers to Gurvitch in passing, but in the context of the reception of German thought. He does not feature in the chapter on Esprit. del Bayle, Jean-Louis Loubet, Les non-conformistes des années 30: Une tentative de renouvellement de la pensée politique française (Paris, 1969). Jaye Miller has noticed the Esprit circle's use of Gurvitch's work in the context of a discussion of the affinities between Esprit and Proudhonian anarchism. Miller, B. Jaye, “Anarchism and French Catholicism in Esprit,” Journal of the History of Ideas 37/1 (1976), 163–74, at 171.

67 Hellman, John, Emmanuel Mounier and the New Catholic Left (Toronto, 1981), 81.

68 His first article was Gurvitch, “Libéralisme et communisme,” 448–52. Postwar articles included Gurvitch, Georges, “La représentation ouvrière et le problème des nationalisations: ‘Conseils de contrôle’ et ‘Conseils de gestion’,” Esprit 118 (Jan 1946), 107–12; Gurvitch, “Au pays de la bonne volonté,” Esprit 127 (Nov. 1946), 702–8; Gurvitch, “Les phénomènes sociaux totaux et la science de l'homme’, Esprit 236 (March 1956), 390–97; Gurvitch, , “Les voies de la démocratisation industrielle,” Esprit 203 (June 1953), 964–72; Vers l'unité ouvrière,” Esprit 119 (Feb. 1946), 270–79.

69 Jean Lacroix, review of Gurvitch, Georges, L'expérience juridique et la philosophie pluraliste du droit, Esprit 30 (1935), 99103. Lacroix, a close friend of Mounier and a key figure in the Esprit circle, would go on to become a leading philosopher of the Catholic Left.

70 Mounier, Personalist Manifesto, 234, 248; Emmanuel Mounier, “Le destin spirituel du mouvement ouvrier: Anarchie et personnalisme,” Esprit 55 (1937), 109–206, at 164, 187. Maritain, Distinguer pour unir, 418 n. 42, 440 n. 64, 450 n. 80 (these all being references to Gurvitch's Tendances actuelles de la philosophie allemande, using him as a source on German philosophers such as Husserl); Maritain, Humanisme intégral: Problemes temporels et spirituels d'une nouvelle chrétienté (1936), OC, 6: 556–7 n. 10, where Gurvitch is cited as a theorist of socialist–Proudhonian syndicalism.

71 Maritain's pupil and friend Yves Simon recalled that he first met Gurvitch in 1927, and since Simon was only twenty-four it seems likely that Maritain introduced them. Yves Simon, review of Gurvitch, Georges, Sociology of Law, Review of Politics 4/3 (1942), 361–2. For the Union pour la vérité see Maritain, OC, 5: 1051. Other participants included Benda, Drieu La Rochelle, Ramon Fernandez, Georges Izard, Pierre Unik, and Georges Guy-Grand.

72 Gurvitch, Georges, La déclaration des droits sociaux (Paris, 1944).

73 Renard, Georges, “L'organisation rationnelle de l’État moderne,” in Les nouvelles conditions de la vie industrielle: Compte rendu in extenso des cours et des conférences des Semaines sociales de France. Besançon XXIe session 1929 (Lyon, 1929), 327–64, at 335. On the institutionalists see Broderick, Albert, ed., The French Institutionalists: Maurice Hauriou, Georges Renard, Joseph T. Delos, trans. Welling, Mary (Cambridge, MA, 1970). The Catholic jurist Georges Renard (1876–1943) is not to be confused with the socialist Georges Renard (1847–1930), who was editor of the Revue socialiste 1894–7 and also forms part of the wider history of pluralist political thought. On the latter see Wright, Julian, Socialism and the Experience of Time: Idealism and the Present in Modern France (Oxford, 2017), chap. 6.

74 Hauriou, Maurice, “Les idées de M. Duguit,” Recueil de législation de Toulouse, series 2 7 (1911), 140, at 18. He probably picked up this usage from William James, who was cited at 17.

75 Laski, “A note on M. Duguit.”

76 On the richness of Catholic social thought in this period see the fundamental article by Conway, Martin, “Building the Christian City: Catholics and Politics in Interwar Francophone Belgium,” Past and Present 128 (1990), 117–51.

77 On the connection between Pius XI's concept of subsidiarity and Maritain's concept of pluralism see Brennan, P. M., “Subsidiarity in the Tradition of Catholic Social Doctrine,” in Evans, Michelle and Zimmermann, Augusto, eds., Global Perspectives on Subsidiarity (Dordrecht, 2014), 2947, at 41.

78 Simon, P. Henri, “Le crucifix de Montabot,” Sept 54 (1935), 5.

79 Chanson, Paul, “Les accords professionnels obligatoires,” Sept 52 (1935), 5. Confédération Générale du Travail (General Confederation of Labour): the largest trade union bloc in France.

80 Margairaz, Michel and Tartakowsky, Danielle, eds., Le syndicalisme dans la France occupée (Rennes, 2008); Mounier, Emmanuel, “Les devoirs du pluralisme,” Esprit 99 (1941), 361–7.

81 This is a key argument of Chappel, “Slaying the Leviathan,” especially chap. 4.

82 Loubet del Bayle, Les non-conformistes des Années 30; Bastow, Steve, “Third Way Discourse in Inter-war France,” Journal of Political Ideologies 6/2 (2001), 169–89; Hawkins, Mike, “Corporatism and Third Way Discourses in Inter-war France,” Journal of Political Ideologies 7/3 (2002), 301–14, esp. 307 for Mounier.

83 Loubet del Bayle, Les non-conformistes des Années 30.

84 Ibid., 422.

85 On Maritain and totalitarianism see Gentile, Emilio, Politics as Religion (Princeton and Oxford), 71–2; and especially Chappel, James, “The Catholic Origins of Totalitarianism Theory in Interwar Europe,” Modern Intellectual History 8/3 (2011), 561–90.

86 For example, “Autour du plan Henri de Man,” Esprit 17 (Feb. 1934), 782.

87 Roussellier, Nicolas, “La contestation du modèle républicain dans les années 30: La réforme de l’État,” in Berstein, Serge and Rudelle, Odile, eds., Le modèle républicain (Paris, 1992), 319–35, at 328.

88 In the 1930s, Aron shared the personalists’ dislike of abstract individualism, although for different reasons.

89 Maritain, Humanisme intégral, 170.

90 Maritain, Du régime temporel et de la liberté, OC, 5: 378–9.

91 Balandier, Gurvitch, 45.

92 Socialism without liberalism, he wrote, was like air without oxygen. Gurvitch, “Libéralisme et communisme,” 449.

93 Surkis, Judith, Sexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870–1920 (London, 2006), 161.

94 Durkheim, Émile, De la division du travail social. Étude sur l'organisation des sociétés supérieures (Paris, 1893); Surkis, Sexing the Citizen, chap. 5.

95 Eliot, T. S., The Idea of a Christian Society (London, 1939), 42. The italics are Eliot's. Eliot, who had a long-standing interest in Maritain's writings, met him in London in October 1935, when Maritain gave lectures to the Aquinas Society and the Warburg Institute. Their acquaintance would be renewed at Princeton after the war. Michel, Florian, ed., Jacques Maritain, Yves Simon, correspondance, vol. 1, Les années françaises (1927–1940) (Tours, 2008), 222 n. 280; Harding, Jason, “‘The Just Impartiality of a Christian Philosopher’: Jacques Maritain and T. S. Eliot,” in Heynickx, Rajesh and de Maeyer, Jan (eds), The Maritain Factor: Taking Religion into Interwar Modernism (Leuven, 2010), 180–91.

96 Runciman, Pluralism, chap. 10.

97 Luigi Sturzo to Mario Einaudi, 30 Sept. 1941, in Malandrino, Corrado, ed., Corrispondenza americana 1940–1944/Luigi Sturzo, Mario Einaudi (Florence, 1988), 63. I owe this point to Rosenboim, Or, The Emergence of Globalism: Visions of World Order in Britain and the United States, 1939–1950 (Princeton, 2017), 252. Pace Rosenboim, the letter mentions Maritain only, and not Maritain in addition to Laski.

98 There is a large and contested literature on Mounier's attitude towards the Vichy regime prior to the prohibition of Esprit in August 1941 and his arrest early in 1942. See, e.g., Hellman, Emmanuel Mounier and the New Catholic Left; and Sternhell, Zeev, “Emmanuel Mounier et la contestation de la démocratie libérale dans la France des années trente,” Revue française de science politique 34/6 (1984), 1141–80, both of which emphasize the affinities between Mounier and Vichy; and, for the contrary position, Comte, Bernard, “Emmanuel Mounier devant Vichy et la révolution nationale en 1940–41: L'histoire réinterprétée,” Revue d'histoire de l’ Église de France 187 (1985), 253–79.

99 Lionel de Tinguy du Pouët, Journal officiel, 23 Aug. 1946, quoted in Robcis, Camille, “The Biopolitics of Dignity,” South Atlantic Quarterly 115/2 (2016), 313–30, at 321. Unlike Robcis, I translate cité as “state” here, although her “community” is defensible. The Mouvement républicain populaire was the leading French Christian democratic party, founded by the Resistance activist Georges Bidault in 1944. It was a major player in the politics of the Fourth Republic, especially in the immediate postwar years.

100 Chappel, James, Catholic Modern: The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church, (Cambridge, MA, 2018), 145–6.

101 The same is true of Maritain's postwar works, e.g. Maritain, Jacques, Man and the State (Chicago, 1951), 23: “a definitely personalist and pluralist pattern of social life.”

102 Rémond, René, “Droite et gauche dans le catholicisme français contemporain,” Revue française de science politique 8/3 (1958), 529–44, at 535.

103 On the significance of Cold War pluralism in the United States see Gilman, Nils, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (London, 2003), 4959.

104 Burdeau, Georges, Traité de science politique, vol. 1, Le pouvoir politique (Paris, 1949), 371, 471; Barre, Raymond, “La politique économique en démocratie,” Revue française de science politique 5/5 (1954), 800–8, at 801. Burdeau drew heavily on Gurvitch, and moved quite explicitly from legal to political pluralism. By contrast his footnotes indicate a lack of familiarity with the work of American political scientists such as David Truman, although he was aware of Laski's work.

105 Aron's review of Gurvitch appeared in Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, 5 (1936), 118–19. For his first use of the term “pluralism” in the sense which would later be fundamental for him, see Aron, Raymond and Clairens, François, Les français devant la constitution (Paris, 1945), 8992. I am grateful to Iain Stewart for these references, and for clarifying Aron's position on pluralism and the common good. On Aron's relations with Maritain, see Jones, H. S. and Stewart, Iain, “Positive Political Science and the Uses of Political Theory in Post-war France: Raymond Aron in context,” History of European Ideas 39/1 (2013), 3550, at 38–9.

106 Chappel, “Catholic Origins of Totalitarianism Theory,” passim.

107 François Bayrou, speech at Risoul (Hautes-Alpes), 29 Aug. 1999, at, accessed 17 June 2019; Bell, David S., Parties and Democracy in France: Parties under Presidentialism (Abingdon, 2018), 112. Bayrou's Mouvement démocrate likewise invokes Maritain and Mounier as intellectual ancestors. See “Le sens de notre Histoire,” at, accessed 26 Nov. 2018.

108 Maritain wrote the preface to Paul Vignaux's wartime study Traditionalisme et syndicalisme: Essai d'histoire sociale (1884–1941) (New York, 1943). Vignaux's first contribution to Esprit was Réflexions sur les relations du travail,” Esprit 70 (1938), 474–87. I am grateful to James Chappel for alerting me to this connection. See also Jainchill and Moyn, “French Democracy,” 111; and Laurent, Jean-Pierre, “Paul Vignaux; inspirateur de la ‘Deuxième gauche’: Récits d'un exil français aux États-Unis pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale,” Matériaux pour l'histoire de notre temps 60 (2000), 4856.

109 For an important exception see Müller, Contesting Democracy, 135–40.

110 Moyn, Christian Human Rights, 68. See also Moyn, Samuel, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Cambridge, MA and London, 2010); and Moyn, “Jacques Maritain, Christian New Order, and the Birth of Human Rights” (1 May 2008), at

111 The significance of pluralism in Maritain's thought has recently been noted in two important works of intellectual history: Chappel, “Slaying the Leviathan”; and Rosenboim, Emergence of Globalism, chap. 8. See also Chappel, Catholic Modern, 113.

112 Scott, Joan Wallach, Parité: Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism (Chicago, 2005), esp. chap. 3.

113 Among the very large literature on this question see Fernando, Mayanthi L., The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism (London, 2014); and Laborde, Cécile, Critical Republicanism: The Hijab Controversy and Political Philosophy (Oxford, 2008).

Catholic Intellectuals and the Invention of Pluralism in France

  • H. S. Jones (a1)


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