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Politics and ‘Politiques' in Sixteenth-Century France
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During the French Wars of Religion, the nature and identity of politics was the subject of passionate debate and controversy. The word 'politique', in both sixteenth-century and contemporary French, refers to the theory and practice of politics - 'la politique' - and the statesman or politician - 'le politique' - who theorised and practised this art. The term became invested with significance and danger in early modern France. Its mobilisation in dialogues, treatises, debates, and polemics of the French Wars of Religion was a crucial feature of sixteenth-century experiences of the political. Emma Claussen investigates questions of language and power over the course of a tumultuous century, when politics, emerging as a discipline in its own right, seemed to offer a solution to civil discord but could be fatally dangerous in the wrong hands. By placing this important term in the context of early modern political, doctrinal and intellectual debates, Emma Claussen demonstrates how politics can be understood in relation to the wider linguistic and conceptual struggles of the age, and in turn influenced them.

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