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This Is Enlightenment$
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Clifford Siskin and William Warner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226761473

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226761466.001.0001

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“The Horrifying Ties, From Which the Public Order Originates”

“The Horrifying Ties, From Which the Public Order Originates”

The Police in Schiller and Mercier

(p.357) “The Horrifying Ties, From Which the Public Order Originates”
This Is Enlightenment

Bernhard Siegert

University of Chicago Press

This chapter offers a unique way to raise the question of Enlightenment mediations of power. It begins by contesting the “two-hundred-year-old myth” that understands the Enlightenment as the epoch when media mediates the private citizen's self-realization as the Public, enabling, in Habermas's influential account, bourgeois society's successful confrontation with the absolutist state. As an alternative to this familiar narrative, the chapter describes an Enlightenment project that gives the state an intimate role in policing, forming policy for, and shaping the communications media that link together the network of people and things, all in the name of securing the welfare of modern state and society. Drawing on Friedrich Schiller's plays, historical writings, and translations, as well as Louis–Sébastien Mercier's Tableau de Paris and Kant, a counter-image of the police is developed as the medium through which the unity of a complex urbanizing society can be grasped as a transcendental unity. It is argued that the salience of the police chief, who, as the new “father confessor,” uses his many agents to mingle with the public, making police and public unthinkable apart from one another.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, power, state, policing, media, police chief

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