Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics [online]
Sandra Leonie Field (Yale-NUS College), Sandra Field (Yale-NUS College)

June 7, 2021, 8:00am - 9:30am
Political Theory, Northwestern University

United States


Northwestern University

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Book Talk

Sandra Leonie Field's Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics

Field's book draws on the political writings of Hobbes and Spinoza to establish a conceptual framework for understanding the genesis, risks, and promise of popular power. Radical democrats--whether drawing on Hobbes’ “sleeping sovereign” or on Spinoza's “multitude”--understand popular power as moments transcending ordinary institutional politics (e.g. popular plebsites or mass movements). However, a focus on the concept of power as potentia generates a new approach to popular power, according to which its true center lies in the slow, meticulous work of organizational design and maintenance. The book makes an original contribution at the intersection of early modern philosophy and democratic theory.

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