Maria Dimova-Cookson's new book Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty (Routledge, 2019) offers an analysis of the distinction between positive and negative freedom building on the work of Constant, Green and Berlin. The author proposes a new reading of this distinction for the twenty-first century. The author defends the idea that freedom is a dynamic interaction between two inseparable, yet sometimes fundamentally, opposed positive and negative concepts – the yin and yang of freedom. Positive freedom is achieved when one succeeds in doing what is right, while negative freedom is achieved when one is able to advance one’s wellbeing. In an environment of culture wars, resurging populism and challenge to progressive liberal values, theorizing freedom in negative and positive terms can help us better understand the political dilemmas we face and point the way forward.
Maria Dimova-Cookson is Associate Professor in Politics at the School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University, UK.
George Giannakopoulos (@giannako) is a currently a Junior Research Fellow in Durham University, UK. He is a historian of Modern Britain and Europe. His published research recovers the regional impact of British Intellectuals in Eastern Europe in the age of nationalism and internationalism.
George Giannakopoulos is a historian of Modern Britain and Europe. He has recently guest edited the special issue Britain, European Civilization and the idea of Liberty” for the History of European Ideas (2020)