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Introduction to ‘Britain versus France: How Many Sonderwegs?’

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In memoriam of the late Ellen Meiksins Wood, this piece firstly remembers the main achievements of her forty years of work. Secondly, it introduces one of her contributions, ‘Britain versus France: How Many Sonderwegs?’, until now unavailable in an anglophone publication and reprinted in the present issue. This contribution is a useful reformulation of her arguments concerning radical historicity, the concept of ‘bourgeois revolution’, and the specificity of French and British state formation and their political revolutions – in contrast to arguments for a German Sonderweg as an explanation for the rise of fascism. Wood also provides a fruitful illustration of how to apply a social-property relations approach to the development of the rule of law in each of these states, and thus furthers opportunities for debates on the potential of Political Marxism for understanding contemporary class struggles over rights.

Affiliations: 1: Oxford Brookes University


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