21 May 2016 9:30am - 6:00pm SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT



Hugo Drochon (University of Cambridge)

Or Rosenboim (University of Cambridge)



The aim of the POLIS-CESPRA exchange is to explore Raymond Aron’s democratic theory and its legacy in the second half of the twentieth century. Whilst Aron has widely been recognised in the English speaking world as a leading theorist of international relations, his work on democratic theory Démocratie et totalitarisme (1965) is key to understanding not just the twentieth century itself, but the subsequent development of democratic theory both in France and the Western world. Indeed, it is in the Centre founded around Aron by Francois Furet that the leading theorists of democratic theory in France first came together – Marcel Gauchet, Claude Lefort, Pierre Manent, Bernard Manin, Philippe Raynaud, Pierre Rosanvallon, and Dominique Schnapper to name but a few, and their work is starting to have an impact throughout the Western world. Yet to fully understand this renewal, a return to the man who was the source of this renewal seems necessary. By bringing together both younger scholars who are rediscovering these elements of Aron’s thought and an older generation who have more personal recollections and perspectives, it is the object of this exchange to do precisely that.


For more information please contact Dr Hugo Drochon.


9.30 - 10.00

Registration, tea & coffee

10.00 - 10.15

  Welcome – Hugo Drochon

10.15 - 12.30

Session One


  • Sophie Marcotte Chénard (University of Toronto)

       Aron, Weber and the Crisis of Historicism


  • Hugo Drochon (University of Cambridge)​

       Raymond Aron and Machiavellian liberalism


  • Giulio de Ligio (EHESS)

       Thinking about democracy philosophically: Tocqueville’s alternatives


Chair: Or Rosenboim

12.30 - 13.30


13.30 - 15.00

Session Two


  • Benjamin Brice (EHESS)

       Change and Continuity: Raymond Aron as a Challenger of Democratic Peace Theory


  • Or Rosenboim (University of Cambridge)

       Aron, Mitrany and democratic theory beyond the state


Chair: Hugo Drochon

15.00 - 15.30


15.30 - 17.30

Session Three


  • Philippe Raynaud (Paris II/EHESS)

       Raymond Aron and Francois Furet: Two critical interpretations of communism


  • Dominique Schnapper (EHESS) 

       The democratic spirit of laws


Chair: Duncan Kelly 

17.30 - 18.30

Wine reception – Atrium ARB

From 19.00

Reception and dinner – Queens’ College

Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk