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Wayward Contracts
Author: Victoria Kahn

ISBN: 9780691171241
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 392
Published: 7 June 2016
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5 x 2.2
Description:


Why did the language of contract become the dominant metaphor for the relationship between subject and sovereign in mid-seventeenth-century England? InWayward Contracts, Victoria Kahn takes issue with the usual explanation for the emergence of contract theory in terms of the origins of liberalism, with its notions of autonomy, liberty, and equality before the law.


Drawing on literature as well as political theory, state trials as well as religious debates, Kahn argues that the sudden prominence of contract theory was part of the linguistic turn of early modern culture, when government was imagined in terms of the poetic power to bring new artifacts into existence. But this new power also brought in its wake a tremendous anxiety about the contingency of obligation and the instability of the passions that induce individuals to consent to a sovereign power. In this wide-ranging analysis of the cultural significance of contract theory, the lover and the slave, the tyrant and the regicide, the fool and the liar emerge as some of the central, if wayward, protagonists of the new theory of political obligation. The result is must re...

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