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Power in ModernityAgency Relations and the Creative Destruction of the King's Two Bodies$
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Isaac Ariail Reed

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226689319

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226689593.001.0001

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Introduction to Part II

Introduction to Part II

(p.99) Introduction to Part II
Power in Modernity

Isaac Ariail Reed

University of Chicago Press

The introduction to part II of Power in Modernity introduces the problematic of modernity—or, to be more specific, transitions to modernity in the Atlantic world—to the analysis. In studying modernity, a useful conceptual method is to examine revolt and rebellion; when power formations falter and violence breaks out, then we see the articulation of the underlying cognitive, moral, and aesthetic orders that render politics possible. It is also possible that we will see therein new formats of politics performed into being. In moments of revolt—trouble at the edge of empire—the imagination of the state and the logistics of the state's operation come together and co-illuminate each other in the urgency of circumstances. In other words, liminality reveals regime. Conceptual points of focus for building the historical interpretations that follow include: examining the nexus of violence and alliance in the making of politics; tracing signs across zones of activity; being aware that, during crisis, emic philosophies or right explode into speech and writing, and that, amidst revolt and uncertainty, everyone is a political philosopher; and utilizing the rector-actor-other vocabulary so that it allows us to see that the politics of representation admits not only struggle and strategy, but also fantasy.

Keywords:   modernity, revolt and rebellion, Michel Foucault, liminality, comparative historical sociology, political sociology, crisis, violence, empire, performance and performativity

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