A Socio-Political Analysis of Rousseau’s Social Contract


  • Assist. Prof. Dr. Mahdi Abbas Qadir College of Education -Salahaddin University- Erbil
  • Prof. Dr. ِMahir Abdulwahid Aziz College of Arts-Salahaddin University- Erbil




General Will, Sovereignty, Totalitarianism, Individuals, Civil Society


This theoretical study deals with the most influential French philosopher of the eighteenth century, namely Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). The study offers a socio-political interpretation of Rousseau’s views on general will and sovereignty in his well-known book, ‘The Social Contract’ descriptively published in 1762. The objective of this study is to elaborate and discuss his major contribution to the field of political philosophy. However, the study aims to problematize the main points on which Rousseau focused in his philosophical argument on citizens, general will, and democracy. Therefore, the study will examine the place of general will in his main contribution to political philosophy. In doing so the study tries to answer the following four questions: Why and with what justice has Rousseau been seen as laying the basis of totalitarian democracy? Is it right to say that Rousseau amidst accusations of totalitarian tendencies? To what extent has Rousseau’s General Will been used in a totalitarian manner?  How and why does Rousseau attempt to reconcile the sovereignty of law with the freedom of the individual? The study concluded that the generalization of Rousseau’s thought will always be problematic. Not only because one can find different meanings in his work depending on what one assumes before reading it, but also because Rousseau recognizes that not all situations are the same, in terms of geography, demography, climate, etc., and adapts his general theory as necessary.

Author Biography

  • Prof. Dr. ِMahir Abdulwahid Aziz, College of Arts-Salahaddin University- Erbil

    Professor Dr. Mahir Abdulwahid Aziz


    Social Work Department                                             

     College of Arts-Salahaddin University- Erbil         


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How to Cite

Mahdi Abbas Qadir, A. P. D. ., & ِMahir Abdulwahid Aziz P. D. . (2023). A Socio-Political Analysis of Rousseau’s Social Contract. Lark, 15(6), 689-678. https://doi.org/10.31185/lark.Vol3.Iss51.3271