Normative organizations of the person: permitted and forbidden democratic narratives

McAdam, Honor (2014) Normative organizations of the person: permitted and forbidden democratic narratives. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2014mcadamphd.pdf] PDF
Download (1MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis is the culmination of doctoral research that sought to examine the relationship between the professions, the public, and democracy. To that end, the research traces how different normative organizations of the person dominant during successive historical periods have influenced the emergence of permitted and forbidden democratic narratives. For instance, when moral ideas of the person enjoyed dominance, associational practices were thought to constitute the public good with the state and law facilitating their development by prohibiting certain designated acts (MacIntyre: [1981] 2007, Ferguson: [1767] 1995, Gierke: [1868] 1990). Following challenges to the moral organization of the person during the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution (Polanyi: [1944] 2001), the dominance of the moral person came to be gradually supplanted by the legal person; a middle position emergent from but discursively independent of moralist and materialist extremes (Maitland: [1911] 2003, Laski: [1921] 1989, Supiot: 2007). The median position of the legal person would profoundly re-organize social values and relations between the individual, civil society, and the state, and to some extent it is the legal organization of the person that continues to guide the development of permissible and forbidden democratic narratives today.

However, all is not well with the organization of the legal person. Emerging from the legal person’s centralizing dynamic, a new regulatory ideal of the person as corporation is starting to contest the legal order’s dominance (Ireland: 2005, Gershon: 2011). This idea of the corporate person advances certain permitted democratic narratives, such as those identified with contemporary ‘public value’ perspectives (Moore: 2005, Benington: 2009) while forbidding others based on the preservation of collective identities and the pursuit of social justice (Offe: 1985). Insofar as the professions share a collective identity based on ethical codes of conduct and autonomy from the state, they will not be easily accommodated in their current form within this new normative constellation. Through an understanding of the challenge posed by the emergence of the corporate person we can be better positioned as a public and as public(s) to evaluate the conditions of the corporate person’s emergence and the possible positions from which resistance may be generated by an understanding of the democratic narratives a corporate organization of the permits and forbids.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: McLean, Professor Sheila and Christodoulidis, Professor Emilios
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ms H. McAdam
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5721
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2014 12:07
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2014 12:14

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year