ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Rise of the Nation State and Beyond

Metamorphoses of the City: On the Western Dynamic by Pierre Manent, Cambridge, MA/ London: Harvard University Press, 2013; pp vi+376, $39.95.

The root of the historical cause of development was the desire of human beings to be well governed or, at least, not too badly governed. The history of the Western civilisation has been shaped by the struggle to answer this question. Metamorphoses of the City is a comprehensive interpretation of the Western political form, from the Greek city-state and Roman Empire to the rise of the nation state by one of Europe’s most influential contemporary political philosophers, Pierre Manent. The question and curious logic of modernity serve as a point of entry into the work of Manent. It is the desire that guides the entire life of Western societies. The will to be modern has been in force for centuries. “The end of the process that we thought we saw coming at various moments [1789, 1917, 1968, and 1989] has always proved illusory” (Manent 2012).

Manent has portrayed the ambition of Western Europe since ancient times to build an even better form of collective self-government, with an idea to be modern. He refers to this project of modernity as the real orientation of the entire life of Western society.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 24th May, 2017


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top