4th Biennial Ideas in Politics Conference
Machiavelli’s thought not only had a huge influence on the development of modern political philosophy, but his ideas continue to inspire – and divide – political theorists even today. The recent history of Machiavellian scholarship could be described in this way: Interpretation of Machiavelli as a teacher of evil (e.g. Strauss 1958) has been repudiated by the Cambridge school scholars (e.g. Skinner 1978, Pocock 1975) who portray Machiavelli as a champion of republican liberty and even suggest his teaching as a panacea for the contemporary democratic malaise.
Since then we have witnessed a proliferation of different interpretations of Machiavelli’s teaching putting Machiavelli at the centre of many recent debates within the field. Many have criticised the Cambridge school for neglecting the most radical and progressive aspects of Machiavelli’s thought, suggesting that Machiavelli should be read rather as a populist or plebiscitarian inspiring in both cases plebeian anti-oligarchic politics (e.g. McCormick 2011 & 2018, Green 2016).
Others were inspired by Machiavelli’s appropriation of Lucretius (Brown 2010) and put Machiavelli into a fruitful discussion within the Marxist and revolutionary tradition (e.g. Lucchese, Frosini 2015). Some were inspired by Machiavelli’s understanding of tumults and political conflict (e.g. Lefort 2012, Gaille 2018, Pedullà 2018) and others use Machiavelli to discuss the role of violence in politics (e.g. Winter 2018). Machiavelli’s presence in contemporary political theory opens the question of the implications of his work for contemporary politics. While papers focusing on the historical interpretation of Machiavelli’s oeuvre are also welcome, we especially invite papers that link Machiavelli’s thought to contemporary politics.
Filippo Del Lucchese (Brunel University London)
Jeffrey Green (University of Pennsylvania)
Lawrence Hamilton (University of Cambridge)