Machiavelli and Contemporary Politics
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.
The conference is organised by the Institute of Political Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in cooperation with Anglo-American University in Prague and the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University.
We invite proposals of individual papers as well as panels (comprising of 3–4 papers). Suggested topics:
- Machiavelli, Lucretius and political materialism
- Machiavelli, umoreand the nature of political conflict
- Machiavelli on the role of violence in politics
- Machiavelli’s notion of liberty: republican or democratic?
- Machiavelli as a populist
- Machiavelli and plebeian politics
- Machiavelli on oligarchy and how to tame it
- Machiavelli on political conspiracies
- Machiavelli’s place in the history of political thought
- Echoes of Machiavelli in contemporary IR theory