Does the body do anything in the history of political thought? Motivated by the quest of understanding how our modern abstract idea of the state came into being, historians of political thought have not fully explored the material and bodily implications of early modern thinking. Turning up-side-down a common focus in the history of political thought, in this talk I favour flesh over thought, body over artifice, and the concrete over the abstract. Bringing politics in the realm of the tangible in this way, I shall show, can help us probe purported boundaries between the political and the apolitical, the public and private, the male and female and can so help us rethink what politics was seen to be in early modern thought.

Anna Becker is Postdoctoral Researcher (and case leader) at The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies (PRIVACY), University of Copenhagen.