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Pablo Facundo Escalante

“Our discipline works under a tacit presupposition of teleology .” —Reinhart Koselleck At the end of the nineteenth century, republicanism became the mythomoteur on which France’s identity was shaped throughout the following century. Back then, the

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On Counterrevolution

Semantic Investigations of a Counterconcept during the French Revolution

Friedemann Pestel

the observation that the uses of the category of counterrevolution in scholarship on the French Revolution significantly contrast with its historical occurrences. Its widespread association with political reaction, ultraroyalism, or restoration of the

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Les Signes du Politique

Language and Sociability in France from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Century

Jacques Guilhaumou

This article describes the social and linguistic processes underlying the formation of political language in France from the end of the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. The author emphasizes the close relationship between the evolution of political language, as it can be traced through the many editions of dictionnaires and grammaires, and novel forms of sociability, from the medieval notion of friendship to revolutionary civism. The eighteenth century is considered a crucial moment in this process, given that during that period the thinkers of the Lumières, in their effort to harness civil society through language, forged the notion of a space of universal communication among men as a precondition for the invention of a political language specific to contemporary democracy.

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Raymonde Monnier

Departing from Mario Turchetti's study on the concept of tyranny and tyrannicide, the author sets out to explore its specific use in the political discourse in the eighteenth century. Originally, as in the works of Plato and Montesquieu, tyranny was used in reference to degenerate forms of government. Tyranny and tyrannicide gained additional significance with its inclusion in the virulent discourse during the radicalization of the French Revolution. Based on the myth of Brutus and other classical sources, anti-tyrannical rhetoric in the form revolutionary literature and propaganda spurted political activism. As the figure of the king became the main obstacle to liberty and the foundation of a new republic, tyranny and tyrannicide became key concepts in the revolutionary movements.

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Immunity

A Conceptual Analysis for France and Romania

Ciprian Negoiţă

This article aims to investigate, from an interdisciplinary point of view, the concept of parliamentary immunity. The main objective of this inquiry is to identify the historical premises and the political, linguistic, and legal instruments that determined the conceptualization of parliamentary immunity in light of the main intellectual events in Romania and France. Embracing Reinhart Koselleck's working methods, this research will develop in extenso a comparative conceptual analysis based on methodological rigor, emphasizing not only the importance of the concept after its entry into national languages, but also the political usages of the concept and the present understandings of it.

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Racial or Spatial Categorisations?

A Focus on the French Setting

Magali Bessone

The hypothesis developed in the paper is that the relation between race and space, under-explored in philosophy, is a powerful theoretical instrument for understanding racial injustices and can be used to renew racial categorisation in a more critical, transformative manner. It argues that only constructivism, in its 'interactive constructionism' version (Hacking 1999), can make sense of both concepts in a relevant way for political theory, and provide a general critical frame to study the relation between both concepts, thereby replying to the powerful arguments of racial scepticism. After specifying what such a position entails for the 'race' concept, the paper argues that 'space', itself conceived in a constructionist perspective, is a core element of current referents of 'race' in our folk conceptions. It shows that France, despite its pretence of racial blindness, is not a counter-example, but rather reinforces the hypothesis. Hence, space should be more thoroughly reinvestigated at an epistemological and theoretical level in exploring our racial thinking.

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Melvin Richter

In this article, the author applies the methodology of Begriffsgeschichte to the study of the concept of despotism in France, focusing mainly on the eighteenth century and the Revolution. During this period despotism became a basic concept (Grundbegriff), and thus highly contested. At the same time, the concept's long history, which stretches back to antiquity and includes the semantic boundaries that previously made it indistinguishable from "tyranny," created a diachronic thrust against which anyone seeking to add a new meaning or application had to work. Finally, as other key concepts, despotism produced political consequences unanticipated and undesired by those using it, not only major theorists but also pamphleteers, in a number of intensely fought conflicts which helped bring down the monarchy.

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Civilization

Comparing Concepts and Identities

Pim den Boer

This article is a transnational comparative study of the history of the concept of civilization. It starts with a brief review of the meaning of concepts that historically preceded it, such as civilitas and civilité. Next, it focuses on the appearance of the concept in eighteenth-century England and France and the ways it was used by different political theorists and polemists, mostly in the sense of politeness. During the nineteenth century in the colonies outside Europe, in Africa, in Asia, and in America, the concept of civilization played a key role in the discourse of colonization. First it was used from above, by the colonists, but later on it was appropriated by the colonized. At the end of the nineteenth century, civilization acquired one more layer of meaning as it was incorporated into nationalistic discourse. Eventually, the concept also became so internalized that the majority of people in a country could identify their own nation as the supreme form of civilization.

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Francesco Maria Scanni and Francesco Compolongo

of the 15M movement, catalysed that nation's crisis of bipolarism with its denunciation of the privilege and corruption in politics and finance ( Caruso 2014 Della Porta et al. 2017a ; Martin 2015 ; Torreblanca 2015 ). Finally, in France ex

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A Specter Is Haunting Germany--the French Specter of Milieu

On the Nomadicity and Nationality of Cultural Vocabularies

Wolf Feuerhahn

Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, and Isabelle Stengers fought against a state-controlled form of science and saw “nomadic science/concepts” as a way to escape from it. The transnational history of the term milieu marks a good opportunity to contribute to another theory of nomadic vocabularies. Traveling from France to Germany, the word milieu came to be identified as a French theory. Milieu was seen as an expression of determinism, of the connection between the rise of the natural sciences and the rise of socialism, and it deterred the majority of German academics. Umwelt was thus coined as an “antimilieu” expression. This article defends a “transnational historical semantic” against the Koselleckian history of concepts and its a priori distinctions between words and concepts. Instead of taking its nature for granted, a transnational historical semantic investigation should analyze the terminological and national status given to the objects of investigation by the term's users.