Power in Modernity: Agency Relations and the Creative Destruction of the King’s Two Bodies

Reed, Isaac Ariail. 2020. Power in Modernity: Agency Relations and the Creative Destruction of the King’s Two Bodies. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
Power in Modernity
In Power in Modernity, Isaac Ariail Reed proposes a bold new theory of power that describes overlapping networks of delegation and domination.  Chains of power and their representation, linking together groups and individuals across time and space, create a vast network of intersecting alliances, subordinations, redistributions, and violent exclusions. Reed traces the common action of “sending someone else to do something for you” as it expands outward into the hierarchies that control territories, persons, artifacts, minds, and money. He mobilizes this theory to investigate the onset of modernity in the Atlantic world, with a focus on rebellion, revolution, and state formation in colonial North America, the early American Republic, the English Civil War, and French Revolution. Modernity, Reed argues, dismantled the “King’s Two Bodies”—the monarch’s physical body and his ethereal, sacred second body that encompassed the body politic—as a schema of representation for forging power relations. Reed’s account then offers a new understanding of the democratic possibilities and violent exclusions forged in the name of “the people,” as revolutionaries sought new ways to secure delegation, build hierarchy, and attack alterity. Reconsidering the role of myth in modern politics, Reed proposes to see the creative destruction and eternal recurrence of the King’s Two Bodies as constitutive of the modern attitude, and thus as a new starting point for critical theory. Modernity poses in a new way an eternal human question: what does it mean to be the author of one’s own actions?

“The Paradox of Inequality: Income Inequality and Belief in Meritocracy go Hand in Hand” by Jonathan J.B. Mijs

Mijs, Jonathan J. B was quoted in a January 24 The Guardian article, a February 26 Washington Post article, and a March 3 Financial Times article about his recent article “The Paradox of Inequality: Income Inequality and Belief in Meritocracy go Hand in Hand” published in Socio-Economic Review (doi: 10.1093/ser/mwy051).

“COVID-19 Is Exposing the United States’ Ragged, Shameful Safety Net” by Colin Gordon and Sarah K. Bruch

Click here to view Colin Gordon’s (University of Iowa) and Sarah K. Bruch’s (University of Delaware) op-ed in Jacobin Magazine. Gordon, Colin and Sara H. Bruch. 21 April 2020. “COVID-19 is Exposing the United States’ Ragged, Shameful Safety Net.” Jacobin. Available online: https://jacobinmag.com/2020/04/covid-19-social-safety-net-united-states

“After More than a Century, Did the Philippines Finally Break Free of the Unites States?” by Victoria Reyes

Click here to view Victoria Reyes’s (UC Riverside) op-ed for the Washington Post.
Victoria Reyes
Reyes, Victoria. 21 February 2020. “After More than a Century, Did the Philippines Finally Break Free from the United States? Possibly. But to truly be free, the Philippines must also steer clear of China’s grasp.” Made by History at The Washington Post. Available online: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/02/21/after-more-than-century-did-philippines-finally-break-free-united-states/