Competition is deeply built into the structures of modern life. It can improve policies, products and services, but is also seen as a divisive burden that pits people against one another. This book seeks to go beyond such caricatures by advancing a new thesis about how competition came to shape our society. Jonathan Hearn argues that competition was 'domesticated', harnessed and institutionalised across a range of institutional spheres in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Responding to crises in traditional forms of authority (hereditary, religious), the formalisation of competition in the economy, politics, and diverse new forms of knowledge creation provided a new mode for legitimating distributions of power in the emerging liberal societies. This insightful study aims to improve our ability to think critically about competition, by better understanding its integral role, for good and ill, in how liberal forms of society work.
John Hall - McGill University
Siniša Malešević - University College Dublin and CNAM, Paris
Geoffrey Hodgson - Loughborough University
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