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Conference paper


Stefano Petrucciani ; Faculty of Philosophy, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy

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Jacques Bidet’s theory of modernity is a fascinating research project which
confronts us in a challenging way with a series of key theoretical and practical
problems. The text focuses on the concepts of metastructure, domination,
class and democracy. The most important concept is “metastructure”, which
is to be perceived as all coordination and legitimation resources (on the economic,
legal-political and cultural levels – the overcoming of any transcendental
order) at the disposal of the citizens of modernity. These resources
can be combined in several different ways, in varied structures of modernity.
How are we to understand the ontological status of this metastructure? A full
answer confronts us with another question: is it possible to offer a scientific
explanation of the genesis of this modern (meta)structure? Thus, if metastructure
is some sort of general grammar of modernity, the social structures are
an actualisation of the possibilities of metastructure according to the spectrum
ranging from the extreme of planned collectivism to the extreme of liberistic
capitalism. Consequently, the duality of modernity is manifest in the fact that
it is characterised, on the one hand, by universalistic legitimacy and, on the
other, by the persistence of forms of (class) domination. According to Bidet,
in capitalism a dominant class will be established with two poles – property
and competence – which correspond to the interlinkage of market and organisation
in such a form of society. For this reason, an attempt to achieve emancipation
from the domination of the proprietor, in the case of planned collectivism,
developing to the full the organisational dimension in order to satisfy
the social needs in a more egalitarian way, necessarily results in the organiser’s
domination. But the thesis that the dominant class in capitalism has two
poles (property and competence) is met with the objection that simultaneously
too much and not enough is said about the second pole of this class (of managers).
Namely, it remains unclear how we must think the unity of capitalist
domination in the plurality of spheres of social power; and if, on the contrary,
we must abandon this unity, why should we limit ourselves to only two poles?
The author concludes with a discussion of two questions which he deems to be
decisive: to what extent can the inequalities related to property or competence
be designated as class relations or forms of domination? And what is the relation
between various modalities of class relations or relations of domination,
and the institutions of modern poliarchic democracy which is centred on the
multi-party system?


modernity; capitalism; metastructure; class structure; domination; democracy; Bidet; Marx; Habermas

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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