Political Power and Depoliticised Acquiescence: Spinoza and Aristocracy

Constellations 27 (4):670-684 (2020)
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According to a recent interpretive orthodoxy, Spinoza is a profoundly democratic theorist of state authority. I reject this orthodoxy. To be sure, for Spinoza, a political order succeeds in proportion as it harnesses the power of the people within it. However, Spinoza shows that political inclusion is only one possible strategy to this end; equally if not more useful is political exclusion, so long as it maintains what I call the depoliticised acquiescence of those excluded.

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Sandra Leonie Field
Monash University


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