Challenging the Notion of Power: Private Spheres as the Roots of Political Legitimation


Location: Brownson Hall, Room 307

Marina Calloni, visiting professor, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame

Politics is often thought of as a constitutive praxis connoting human nature and forms of consociation, taking place in public spaces devoted to the deliberation of common interests. However, politics is also associated with “negative passions,” like power and violence, which determine conflicts on the basis of competing interests and the will of dominion over human beings and populations. Yet could power and violence be identified in toto with the idea and practice of politics? And, in particular, are violence and power always interrelated?

Calloni will argue in this semester’s final Political Theory Colloquium that violence and power are inter-subjective determinations, whose contents are culturally and anthropologically variable in space and time and basic elements of systemic structures in form of crystallization and reification of human relationships. Politics, power, and violence are thus overlapping elements, which refer to the spheres of government, civil society, and private relationships.