An Archaeology of the Political : Regimes of Power from the Seventeenth Century to the Present
Part of the Columbia Studies in Political Thought / Political History series
In the past few decades, much political-philosophical reflection has been dedicated to the realm of "the political." Many of the key figures in contemporary political theory-Jacques Ranciere, Alain Badiou, Reinhart Koselleck, Giorgio Agamben, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj i ek, among others-have dedicated themselves to explaining power relations, but in many cases they take the concept of the political for granted, as if it were a given, an eternal essence. In An Archaeology of the Political, Elias Jose Palti argues that the dimension of reality known as the political is not a natural, transhistorical entity.
Instead, he claims that the horizon of the political arose in the context of a series of changes that affirmed the power of absolute monarchies in seventeenth-century Europe and was successively reconfigured from this period up to the present.
Palti traces this series of redefinitions accompanying alterations in regimes of power, thus describing a genealogy of the concept of the political.
Perhaps most important, An Archaeology of the Political brings to theoretical discussions a sound historical perspective, illuminating the complex influences of both theology and secularization on our understanding of the political in the contemporary world.