The Concept of the Social

The Concept of the Social:Scepticism, Idleness and Utopia

  • Hardback

    + free ebook

    Regular price $26.95 Sale price $21.56
    Page redirects on selection
    Add to cart
    20% off
  • Ebook

    Regular price $9.99 Sale price $8.00
    Page redirects on selection
    Add to cart
    20% off

From here to utopia. New directions in political theory

What does political agency mean for those who don’t know what to do or can’t be bothered to do it? This book develops a novel account of collective emancipation in which freedom is achieved not through knowledge and action but via doubt and inertia.

In essays that range from ancient Greece to the end of the Anthropocene, Bull addresses questions central to contemporary political theory in novel readings of texts by Aristotle, Machiavelli, Marx, and Arendt, and shows how classic philosophical problems have a bearing on issues like political protest and climate change. The result is an entirely original account of political agency for the twenty-first century in which uncertainty and idleness are limned with utopian promise.


  • In On Mercy, Malcolm Bull conducts a clever thought experiment on the question of whether mercy might not only be reconciled with justice but could displace it at the centre of our political life

    David A. SkeelWall Street Journal
  • Charmingly erudite and an important work of political philosophy

    Joe HumphreysIrish Times (for On Mercy)
  • Highly compelling. Bull is to be congratulated on presenting such a thought-provoking study

    Alexander MarrApollo (for Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth)