Changes of State: Nature and the Limits of the City in Early Modern Natural Law

By Annabel S. Brett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
RE-PLACING THE STATE

As the multifaceted discussions we examined in the last chapter illustrate, for Hobbes and many of his contemporaries locality or situation is an essential presupposition of the way they think about sovereignty and subjection. However, it is at the same time something that emerges only obliquely as they consider particular figures away from home such as travellers, migrants, fugitives, or ambassadors. In this chapter I want to address the issue of the place of the city directly, and to pursue the broader implications of place in relation to the metaphysics of human agency with which this book has been concerned throughout. As the space of physical movement, or locomotion, place is apparently depoliticised from the outset; for the political depends on the free, which, even if conceived as the voluntary and naturalised, as in Hobbes, is nevertheless contrasted with the external motion that is blocked by force. But the casuistry concerning the local motion of citizens shows how the space of the political has to contend with the space of external movement, the same space in which animals move, which resists even as it supplements the voluntary and juridical construction of the state. In this sense the question of place draws together all the strands that we have been threading throughout this study of the limits of the city in relation to nature, limits that turn out to be frontiers on multiple and inter-connected levels.

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Changes of State: Nature and the Limits of the City in Early Modern Natural Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • A Note on the Text ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction on the Threshold of the State 1
  • Chapter One- Travelling the Borderline 11
  • Chapter Two- Constructing Human Agency 37
  • Chapter Three- Natural Law 62
  • Chapter Four- Natural Liberty 90
  • Chapter Five- Kingdoms Founded 115
  • Chapter Six- The Lives of Subjects 142
  • Chapter Seven- Locality 169
  • Chapter Eight- Re-Placing the State 195
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 225
  • Index 237
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