The Domestication of Competition

A BOOK LAUNCH AND CONVERSATION WITH JONATHAN HEARN

A book launch and conversation with Jonathan Hearn, author of The Domestication of Competition: Social Evolution and Liberal Society.

5PM (GMT), 16TH FEBRUARY 2023 | DOVECOT STUDIOS, 10 INFIRMARY STREET, EDINBURGH, EH1 1LT

How did competition come to shape our societies? What is the intellectual and institutional history of this process? And how should we evaluate the competitive liberal society it has created?

In his compelling new book, The Domestication of Competition: Social Evolution and Liberal Society (Cambridge University Press, 2023), former ISRF Fellow Professor Jonathan Hearn presents a wide-ranging overview of the history of the competitive society. Deftly weaving together conceptual history, social theory, and political economy, the book argues that Western societies came to ‘domesticate’ competition in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This reorganised not just the economic but also the political, social, and cultural realms around competitive logics that serve to legitimate power relations in liberal societies. This allowed Western societies to become wealthier than ever before, but it also came with a raft of distinct problems, such as wealth concentration, inequality, and overproduction.

A bold reimagining of the history of liberal institutions, The Domestication of Competition casts a new light on the history, nature, and future of the competitive society.

Professor Hearn will present an overview of his book, and will then be joined by two commentators: Timo Jütten, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex and PI on the Leverhulme-funded Competition and Competitiveness Project; and Lindsay Paterson, Professor Emeritus of Education Policy at the University of Edinburgh, and author of Social Radicalism and Liberal Education (Imprint Academic, 2015). Your questions and a discussion will follow, moderated by Professor Christopher Newfield, ISRF Director of Research. All are welcome, both to attend and to participate.

This is the twenty-second in the ISRF’s series of Book Launches.