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Michael Jackson and Damian Grace

This article analyses the way in which the life and works of Niccolò Machiavelli are misunderstood and misconstrued by writers and scholars, in the fields of management, personality research and primate studies. While adjectives like 'Machiavellian' and nouns like 'Machiavellianism' have become part of the vernacular, these scholarly usages trade on, perpetuate and reinforce stereotypes of Machiavelli in (1) a host of books and articles in management, (2) an instrument to assess personality that has been administered to thousands of subjects around the world, and (3) authoritative studies of primate behaviours from the Netherlands to Japan. The distorted Machiavelli depicted in these fields is but a shadow of the deft, insightful and elusive Machiavelli of The Prince, The Discourses, Mandragola, The Art of War, The Florentine Histories and more. We suggest that colleagues should recognise and rebut these shadowy Machiavellis in teaching, scholarship and research. If specialists in history and political science ignore them, they will continue to obscure the reality.

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Queering Lucrezia’s Virtú

A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Radical Machiavelli

Andrés Fabián Henao Castro

This article argues for a feminist reinterpretation of the ‘radical Machiavelli’ tradition which pushes Machiavelli’s performative theory of power towards emancipation. I base my argument on a rereading of Niccolò Machiavelli’s Mandragola, whose historical use of the mandrake legend, I claim, symptomatizes historically gendered forms of labour expropriation characteristic of early modern capitalism. Against the background of that historical contextualisation, I then argue against James Martel’s interpretation of Machiavelli’s theory of open secrets, as one that remains unable to extend to Lucrezia the democratic insights that he identifies in Callimaco and Ligurio’s textual conspiracies. Dialectically relocating the political heroism of this play in Lucrezia’s performance, I conclude, Machiavelli’s comedy becomes nevertheless useful for a subaltern theory of democratic action.

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Lawrence Hamilton

I argue that 'negative' freedom or freedom as absence of impediment is better described as freedom within a putative 'private' sphere, where individuals are allegedly protected from the coercive interference of other agents. As such it is characterised by four problems as an account of freedom under modern conditions. I then consider two alternatives, within which freedom is identified with politics or political action, and argue that they are therefore also inappropriate for understanding modern freedom. Yet, I do not discard them completely. In the main part of the paper, I draw on Machiavelli's emphasis on institutionalised class conflict as constitutive of freedom and propose a conception of freedom that captures the manifold conditions for freedom of action today. This realistic, modern conception of freedom identifies freedom with power across four domains; and it follows from this, I argue pace Pettit, that representative, partisan political institutions are requirements for freedom and democracy.

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Manjeet Ramgotra

Republicanism is generally said to promote virtue and equal political participation, yet many historical republics and republican theories endorse the hierarchical political participation of the upper and lower social classes and recommend a centralised executive power. Republican constitutions incorporate the authority of the nobles, the freedom of the people and the political power of one man. Cicero formulates this understanding of the republic, which endures in the ideas of Machiavelli and Montesquieu. I characterise this school of thought as conservative because it promotes the preservation of the social hierarchy, private property and stability. Moreover, it harnesses change by advancing a policy of expansion. I challenge the mainstream Cambridge School interpretation by tracing the trajectory of conservative republican ideas in the thought of Cicero, Machiavelli and Montesquieu. Few interpretations relate the republicanism of these three thinkers to each other, hence this reading contributes a new way of thinking about republicanism.

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No Sovereignty without Freedom

Machiavelli, Hobbes and the Global Order in the Twenty-first Century

Samuel Salzborn

In outlining a model of sovereignty, this article makes constructive reference to the ideas of Machiavelli and Hobbes concerning the fundamental structures of modern statehood, and ultimately argues for a sovereignty without morality – but not without restraints. A central element is the idea that in terms of legal theory, limitations on sovereignty should not come from some other context, but should instead be developed solely in reference to itself and its inherent contradictions: this could be the future of sovereignty.

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David James

I argue that the concept of practical necessity adds to our understanding of the notion of constraint by analysing the use of this concept in the writings of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hegel and Marx. Objective and subjective aspects of practical necessity are identified, and the relation between them is explained. It is also shown that human beings can be wrong about what is a matter of genuine practical necessity at the same time as some people have an interest in fostering in others false beliefs regarding this matter. In short, appeals to necessity may perform an ideological function.

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Daniel Canaris

A persistent feature in Jesuit reports about the late Ming and early Qing was the notion that an enduring peace and concord pervaded the Chinese political system. Although the Jesuits did not invent this association, which was rooted in Greco-Roman historiography, the Jesuit encyclopaedist Antonio Possevino (1533–1611) was the first to link the ‘perpetual peace’ (perpetua pax) and ‘supreme concord’ (summa concordia) of the Chinese state to the Confucian intellectual tradition. As the Jesuits’ missionary strategy developed under the tutelage of Matteo Ricci (1552–1610), ‘public peace’ (pax publica) and ‘the calm of the Republic’ (Republica quies) came to be perceived as the ultimate purpose of the Confucian precepts and one of the hinges on which the aims of Christianity, Confucianism and natural law can be reconciled. The supreme expression of the link between Confucianism and peace can be found in the Confucius Sinarum philosophus (1687), which presented for the first time an accessible translation of three of the four Confucian classics. Yet while retaining the view that pre-Qin Confucianism espoused peace as a central political aim, the Confucius Sinarum philosophus challenged the view that contemporary China could be regarded as a utopic actualization of Confucian peace. This paper will discuss this shift as an attempt to coopt the Chinese political experience as an argument against the pragmatic political philosophy known as ‘reason of state’, which was perceived by Jesuit thinkers as atheistic and immoral.

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Book Reviews

On Machiavelli as Plebeian Theorist

Marc Stears, Jérémie Barthas, and Adam Woodhouse

Reading Machiavelli: Scandalous Books, Suspects Engagements, and the Virtue of Populist Politics, by John McCormick. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018. 288 pp.

Machiavelli in Tumult. The Discourses on Livy and the Origins of Political Conflictualism, by Gabriele Pedullà. Translated by Patricia Gaborik and Richard Nybakken. Revised and updated by the author. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018. xix + 284 pp.

Machiavelli and the Orders of Violence, by Yves Winter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 230 pp.

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Franziska Quabeck

militarism and pacifism which Shakespeare’s plays present is in keeping with the range of opinions about the morality of war available in the work of contemporary philosophers such as Erasmus and Machiavelli. The influence of Machiavellian Realpolitik is

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Shadowing Shakespeare

Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha (1980) and William Shakespeare's English History Plays (c. 1591–98)

Alex Watson

Abstract

In his 1980 film Kagemusha or Shadow Warrior, Akira Kurosawa presents the sixteenth-century Takeda clan engaging a lower-class thief to impersonate their recently deceased leader, Takeda Shingen. I examine Kagemusha as a critical engagement with Shakespeare's English history plays and ‘shadow’ counterpart to Kurosawa's trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations, Throne of Blood (1957), The Bad Sleep Well (1960) and Ran (1985). In keeping with Shakespeare's dramatisation of English history, Kurosawa creatively reworks historical sources, incorporating stories of intergenerational rivalry and fulfilled prophecies, to depict the transition from medieval civil conflict to the early-modern nation-state. Kurosawa also deploys the motif of the double to explore the distinctively Shakespearean theme of power as performance, engaging in a dramatic examination of Machiavelli's ideas about politics. I argue that Kurosawa's use of the double posits a theory of influence, drawing on Japanese cultural traditions, in which doubling can achieve a form of transcendence through self-annihilation.