Two concepts of coercion

Terence Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In this essay I have begun to construct the liberal and the Marxian concepts of coercion. The differences between them are fundamental and probably irreconcilable. That does not mean, however, that given their respective ontologies, each is valid in its own right. On the contrary, neither concept is valid if its ontological presuppositions are insecurely grounded and/or if it exhibits internal inconsistencies or contradictions. The liberal concept of coercion, explicated by means of the agency model, suffers from both of these defects. The agency model of coercion is seriously, indeed fatally, flawed. For latter-day liberals this is an unpalatable conclusion. Yet I trust that my reasons for reaching this conclusion - however dry and prolix they may seem - are accessible to everyone, liberals and Marxists alike.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalTheory and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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