In the King's Shadow
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In the King's Shadow

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Description

It is commonly assumed that the rise of modern democracies put an end to the spectacular and ceremonial aspects of political rule that were so characteristic of monarchies and other earlier regimes. The medieval idea that the king had two bodies - a mortal physical body and an eternal political body - strikes us today as alien and remote from our understanding of politics: with the transition from monarchy to modern representative democracy, the idea of the body politic was abandoned. Or was it? In this remarkable and highly original book Philip Manow shows that the body politic, though so often pronounced dead, remains alive in modern democracies. It is just one of the many ideas that we have inherited from our predecessors and that continue to shape our modern forms of political life. Why did the semi-circle become the main seating plan for modern parliaments? Why do we think that parliament should mirror the diversity of society? Why does the president's motorcade always have more than one identical-looking Cadillac? Why do we pay so much attention to the physical features and appearance - the body - of our political leaders today?
In answering these and other questions Manow sheds fresh light on the pre-modern origins of our modern political institutions and practices and shows convincingly that all political power - including democracy - requires and produces its own political mythology.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 139 x 215 x 14mm | 224g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745647677
  • 9780745647678
  • 1,328,324

Back cover copy

'This is a brilliant piece of historical and politicalanalysis, tracing how imagery derived originally from theimportance of the corporeal presence of monarchs continues to shapeour ways of thinking about political institutions today. The designof parliamentary assemblies, the importance of the personalappearance of political figures and the value of continuity ofpersons occupying roles can all be seen afresh in the light of thiscentral theme. It is probably the most original contribution todemocratic theory for several years.'
Colin Crouch, University of Warwick


It is commonly assumed that the rise of modern democracies put anend to the spectacular and ceremonial aspects of political rulethat were so characteristic of pre-democratic regimes. The medievalidea that the king had two bodies - a mortal physical body and aneternal political body - strikes us today as alien and remote fromour understanding of politics: with the transition from monarchy tomodern representative democracy, the idea of the body politic wasabandoned. Or was it?

In this remarkable and highly original book Philip Manow showsthat the body politic, though so often pronounced dead, remainsalive in modern democracies or at least has an afterlife. It isjust one of the many ideas that we have inherited from ourpredecessors and that continue to shape our modern forms ofpolitical life. Why did the semi-circle become the main seatingplan for modern parliaments? Why do we think that parliament shouldmirror the diversity of society? Why do we pay so much attention tothe physical features and appearance - the body - of our politicalleaders today? In answering these and other questions Manow shedsfresh light on the premodern origins of our modern politicalinstitutions and practices and shows convincingly that allpolitical power - including democracy - requires and produces itsown political mythology.
show more

Table of contents

Chapter One: Does the Republic Have a Body? Chapter Two: Parliament as Body Politic House Seating Plans. 2.1 Does democracy have no images? 2.2 Basic parliamentary seating plans and how they came about. 2.3 The shadow of the king's body. 2.4 The parliamentarization of divine right doctrine. Chapter Three: Parliament as Body Politic Immunity, Publicity, Proportionality and Discontinuity. 3.1 Republican body-snatching. 3.2 'A degree of sanctity' parliamentary immunity. 3.3 The parliamentary puppet can speak! the question of public debate. 3.4 'A recognizable likeness of the populace' parliamentary proportionality. 3.5 Le parlement ne meurt jamais? Parliamentary discontinuity. 3.6 Farewell to the body of the people? Chapter Four: Democratic Bodies/Despotic Bodies. 4.1 Deputies and Doubles. 4.2 In corpore/in effigie (1). 4.3 In corpore/in effigie (2). 4.4 In corpore/in effigie (3). 4.5 Hot and cold representation. 4.6 Violent/thaumaturgic. 4.7 Dignitas/humanitas. 4.8 Disenchantment/Re-enchantment. Notes. Bibliography. Sources of illustrations.
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Review quote

"Of value to specialists in the history of political theory and democratic institutions." Choice "Manow sheds fresh light on the pre-modern origins of our modern political institutions and practices and shows convincingly that all political power - including democracy - requires and produces its own political mythology." Orange Standard "This is a brilliant piece of historical and political analysis, tracing how imagery derived originally from the importance of the corporeal presence of monarchs continues to shape our ways of thinking about political institutions today. The design of parliamentary assemblies, the importance of the personal appearance of political figures and the value of continuity of persons occupying roles can all be seen afresh in the light of this central theme. It is probably the most original contribution to democratic theory for several years." Colin Crouch, University of Warwick
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About Philip Manow

Philip Manow is Professor of Politics at the University of Konstanz.
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Rating details

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