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Title: Gender and political thought in northern Italy and France, c.1420-c.1578
Author: Becker, A. K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation examines the relationship between household and state, gender and politics, in early modern political thought. Contrary to what is commonly assumed early modern political theorists discussed with great interest and in considerable detail matters of the family; notably emphasising the rapport between husband and wife. This discussion was not an isolated endeavour into the realms of the private, but part of an inquiry into the very nature of the political. State and family were linked in various ways: it was commonly understood that the political community emerged from the family. Investigations into the origins of the political life were thus simultaneously investigations into the origins of families. Furthermore, the res familiaris or res oeconomica (the science of the household) was understood as that which connected the res monastica to the res publica: the family linked the individual to the state. Above that, the family was often used as a model to describe and to understand political rule. I also show that studying the language and arguments that connected the political with the ‘oeconomical’ not only brings to the forefront a neglected dimension of political thought, but also helps us to understand the vocabulary of politics in early modern Europe. The dissertation gives accounts of principal texts of Italian and French political thinking, discussing in turn Bruni’s translation and commentary on Aristotle’s Oeconomica as well as his vernacular writings, the writings of the so-called ‘civic humanists’ Alberti and Palmieri, Machiavelli’s answer to them, and finally the interrelation of family and state in Jean Bodin’s Six livres de la République. The analysis underlies a special interest in contemporary Aristotelian commentaries on the Politics, the Ethics and the Oeconomica, and the connection of this Aristotelian understanding with arguments from Roman law on the family, while exploring key themes of family, friendship, concord, and government in the context of the various texts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available