Human Rights Book Salon: Chiara Cordelli - “The Privatized State”

Zoom Event Wednesday, May 26, 2021 5 – 6:30 pm Eventbrite Registration

Pozen Center Faculty Board member Chiara Cordelli will discuss her new book, The Privatized State, in conversation with Professors Daniel Brudney and Elisabeth S. Clemens. A Q&A will follow the conversation. 

We will be raffling off copies of the book at the event! Join us on Zoom for your chance to secure a copy.

About the Book: 
Many governmental functions today—from the management of prisons and welfare offices to warfare and financial regulation—are outsourced to private entities. Education and health care are funded in part through private philanthropy rather than taxation. Can a privatized government rule legitimately? The Privatized State argues that it cannot.

In this boldly provocative book, Chiara Cordelli argues that privatization constitutes a regression to a precivil condition—what philosophers centuries ago called a state of nature. Developing a compelling case for the democratic state and its administrative apparatus, she shows how privatization reproduces the very same defects that Enlightenment thinkers attributed to the precivil condition, and which only properly constituted political institutions can overcome—defects such as provisional justice, undue dependence, and unfreedom. Cordelli advocates for constitutional limits on privatization and a more democratic system of public administration, and lays out the central responsibilities of private actors in contexts where governance is already extensively privatized. Charting a way forward, she presents a new conceptual account of political representation and novel philosophical theories of democratic authority and legitimate lawmaking.

The Privatized State shows how privatization undermines the very reason political institutions exist in the first place, and advocates for a new way of administering public affairs that is more democratic and just.

About the Author: 
Chiara Cordelli is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the College. Her main areas of research are social and political philosophy, with a particular focus on theories of justice, political legitimacy, normative defenses of the state, the public/private distinction in liberal theory, and the ethics of philanthropy and assistance. Her work has appeared in Ethics, The Journal of Political PhilosophyThe Journal of Politics, Political Studies, Political Theory, The British Journal of Political Science, and The Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, as well as in several edited volumes. She is also the co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

About the Interlocutors: 
Daniel Brudney is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the College; Associate Faculty in the Divinity School; and Associate Faculty at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. He writes and teaches in political philosophy, philosophy and literature, bioethics, and philosophy of religion. He is the author of Marx’s Attempt to Leave Philosophy (Harvard, 1998).

Elisabeth S. Clemens is a Professor of Sociology as well as a former Master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division. Her research explores the role of social movements and organizational innovation in political change. Her first book, The People’s Lobby: Organizational Innovation and the Rise of Interest Group Politics in the United States, 1890-1925 (Chicago, 1997) received best book awards in both organizational sociology (1998) and political sociology (1999). Her most recent book is Civic Gifts: Benevolence and the Making of the American Nation-State (Chicago, 2020).

Presented in partnership with the Seminary Co-op Bookstores and the Department of Sociology, Department of Philosophy, and Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago.